Saturday, May 13, 2006
SF Women & AIDS Mural Defaced, Painted Over by City
It was great while it lasted, but the beautiful San Francisco mural about women and AIDS on Scott Street near Haight is gone. I used to frequently see the mural on my way to my chiropractor and two weeks ago, when I noticed the ugly gray paint job, I asked around the neighborhood about what led up to the mural's destruction.
The mural was recently heavily tagged with graffiti and the city's strong anti-graffiti task force, after it couldn't locate the original women artists and get them to repaint the mural back to its original beauty, simply painted over the lower six feet of it with dull gray paint.
Business owners near the mural told me they would have preferred to restore the art work, and maintain an educational and prevention message targeting women at risk of contracting HIV or living with AIDS, but the graffiti task force was set on simply covering up the tagging.
By the way, this is not the first time the mural has been defaced. It was vandalized back in 2001, according to this SF Examiner story, and the women and AIDS mural was painted over with a graffiti-proof cover, one that apparently didn't work.
I find it odd that so far, no women's or arts or AIDS groups have said anything about the vandalism and the city's reaction. Given the strong voices of the women's, arts and AIDS communities in San Francisco, I would expect someone from those communities would try and save the mural, and its message.
Maybe the mural and its survival should be of concern to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who represents the neighborhood on the Board of Supervisors.
All I know is, people in power should raise their voices about the defacement and attempt to restore the AIDS mural. And let's not forget about the daily needs of women living AIDS.