San Francisco Arts Commission and Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts Celebrate Iconic Mural Restoration

June 22 ceremony will mark the completion of restoration of Spirit of the Arts, an important Mission District mural by Carlos Loarca, Betsie Miller-kusz, and Manuel Villamor

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) and the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) announce the completion of the restoration of iconic mural, Spirit of the Arts. The 3700-square-foot mural was originally painted in 1982 by Carlos Loarca, Betsie Miller-kusz, and Manuel Villamor; all three artists participated in the month-long restoration process. The project was made possible through an add-back secured by former District 9 Supervisor David Campos and with a $15,000 contribution from Kilroy Real Estate. A public celebration ceremony will take place on June 22, 5-8:30 p.m. at MCCLA, 2868 Mission Street.

“Mural art has been a vital cultural resource for the local community,” said District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “The restoration project raises awareness about the mural art form and the neighborhood’s rich history. We look forward to enjoying this masterpiece for many years to come.”

Spanning the façade of the Mission Cultural Center, Spirit of the Arts features a composition that is united within the body of an ancestral Native American figure. The composition incorporates Incan, Mayan, and Aztec symbolism and represents the various art forms that are offered inside the cultural center, including theater, dance, music, and more.

“We are thrilled to see the completion of the restoration project,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny. “San Francisco is famous around the world for its rich mural tradition, which speaks volumes about San Francisco’s artistic diversity. This project is especially poetic because of the involvement of the mural’s original artists in the restoration process. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to honor them and their artistic legacy.”

The MCCLA is one of four city-owned facilities overseen by the Arts Commission and operated by nonprofit arts organizations. The centers provide accessible cultural and arts programs for local communities.

According to MCCLA Director Jennie Rodriguez, “It has been the Center’s mission to promote and protect Latino cultural arts. Seeing Spirit of the Arts so well preserved and so prominently featured in our neighborhood daily is a truly empowering experience. We hope the mural can bring pride to the Latino American community and educate people in and outside of the Mission.”

Mural Restoration Committee: Susan Cervantes, Geneva Griswold, Tomasita Medal, Alistair Monroe, Ernie Rivera, Jennie E. Rodriguez, Eva Royale.

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