Art on Market Street Poster Series Highlights San Francisco’s Queer Culture for the 50th Anniversary of Gay Pride

Win Mixter Continues the San Francisco Arts Commission’s ‘Celebrating 50 Years of Gay Pride’ 2020 Art on Market Street Poster Series With Work That Honors the People, Places and Protests From The City’s Vibrant Queer Past

Black and White Art poster design in muni bus kiosk. 1978 Gay Freedom Day Parade

SAN FRANCISCO, June 1, 2020 – For its 2020 Art on Market Street Poster Series, the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) invited artists to explore and call attention to the diverse people, places and events of San Francisco’s queer culture. Win Mixter is the second artist in the 2020 series, presenting his project “Pride is a Protest,” a series of 36 unique black-and-white posters, covering 18 different subjects that aims to re-center the narrative of our annual Pride celebrations away from rainbow capitalism to its original principles of resistance and rebellion. 

For Mixter’s posters, he focused most of his research at the GLBT Historical Society Archives. As a long-time volunteer with the historical society, it was an opportunity to dive deeper into their collections, and share some lesser-known stories of gender expressions and queer subcultures, from pre-Stonewall era to modern day. The posters gather imagery and iconography found in the archives to create memorials to people, places and protests from San Francisco’s vibrant queer community.

“Over the decades, Pride in San Francisco as around the world has evolved into something vastly different than the original organizers envisioned,” said Mixter. “By centering on stories of resistance and radical self-expression, the project tries to recapture some of the brave and defiant ways in which queers have liberated themselves and demanded their own freedoms over the last 50+ years.” 

“The Arts Commission is thrilled to showcase the richness of San Francisco’s queer history through Win Mixter’s poster series,” said Acting Director of Cultural Affairs Rebekah Krell. “Our city has a legacy of activism and we are a world leader in advancing LGBTQ civil rights. Every year we honor the struggles and celebrate the achievements of our diverse queer community during Pride Month. Mixter’s tribute does both beautifully.”

With the pandemic-related cancellation of most in-person Pride celebrations for 2020, the project takes on another life as a socially-distant “city as museum” installation; each poster is consciously located to evoke some of the living history that surrounds us. The full series of posters can be experienced as a walking tour down Market Street. For example, a poster commemorating José Sarria is located at the beginning of Market Street near the Embarcadero in a kiosk adjacent to 90 Market, the location of his short-lived bar, The Talk of the Town. Another kiosk poster marking the 1990 ACT UP Protests that shut down Market Street at Stockton and Ellis streets is located at the intersection of Market and Stockton.

For a full list of the subjects drawn by the artist and a map of the installed posters, check out the project website, PrideisaProtest.com. Each page is an aggregation of images, videos and sound bites (where available), and a written reflection on each subject. The project is also on Instagram @PrideIsAProtest. 

Mixter will present his research and a series of personal reflections by local queer leaders at a virtual event hosted by the GLBT Historical Society on Thursday, June 18 from 6–8 PM. Please register here or go to website.

The San Francisco Arts Commission is the City agency that champions the arts as essential to daily life by investing in a vibrant arts community, enlivening the urban environment and shaping innovative cultural policy. Our programs include: Civic Art Collection, Civic Design Review, Community Investments, Public Art, SFAC Galleries and Street Artist Licensing. To learn more, visit sfartscommission.org.

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Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

January 05
/
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

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Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

January 05
/
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting