‘Working Class for Affordable Mission’ mural debuts
Lucia Gonzalez Ippolito, an artist born and raised in the Mission, unveiled her latest mural, “The Working Class for an Affordable Mission”.
“Working class for an affordable mission ” is on Cypress Street between 25th and 26th streets.
It was commissioned by Mission accommodation to celebrate its 50th anniversary and honor the legacy of Organization of the mission coalition, a consortium active in the 1970s in the fight for affordable housing for low-income residents.
Lead artist Lucia Ippolito said she wanted to honor the organization and working class people through the comic book style mural.
After finding solutions to the logistical challenges – many of which stem from the difficulty of painting a mural on top of a 60-and-a-half-foot wall -), Ippollito, 33, was already seven months pregnant.
“The plan was that I was going to go out there and paint it myself,” she said.
But “I can’t breathe the spray paint right now,” and it is dangerous for her to swing 60 and a half feet above the ground. Therefore Pablito Ruiz Arroyo (also known as Pablitosomething) and Pancho Pescador, two muralists well known in the community, stepped in to work from the design of Ippolito.
“We support each other as artists because we are a tight-knit community and we are all we have,” said Ruiz Arroyo.
Pescador added: “It is impossible not to love” Ippolito and to help him.
The colorful mural is full of references to the Mission and its working class – union workers, low-riders, iconic buildings and a nod to the murals in the historic district.
It was painted from an electric elevator 60 ½ feet above the ground on the back wall of Mission Housing’s 30 affordable unit building at 1045 Capp Street. The low-income seniors’ building is currently under renovation.
Mission Housing owned the building since 1990 when the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company donated it to the organization.
Ippolito grew up in the Mission and was encouraged to create political art by her parents; her father was an artist from Yucatán and her mother a political activist. The Mexican American artist, teacher and activist has worked on many murals throughout the mission, and is co-founder of the San Francisco Poster Union, a group of students and artists who print free political posters at demonstrations and community events.
In the lower right segment of the new mural, Ippolito depicted the new 100% affordable housing complex located in 1950 Mission, surrounded by native California wildflowers. There is a construction crane in honor of Maria Crane, former president of the Mission Coalition Organization. And a banner that says “Affordable Housing Now !!!”
A house with a “For Sale” sign is located next to the house with a “Keep the hoods to yourselfGraffiti tag, an anti-gentrification statement that Ippolito says means to many of us “keep the neighborhood local and native,” a statement that resonates with Mission natives like her.
Other figures raise their fists under a purple sky. The shoes hanging from the telephone wires refer to the building’s roots as once owned by the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company.
The mural also features a drawing of construction workers with a banner that reads “Laborer’s Local 261 San Francisco CA” in honor of the union which now has offices at the corner of Shotwell and 18th Street. One of the workers’ orange vest reads “Mission Housing 1971-2021,” in honor of Mission Housing’s 50th anniversary.
Part of the mural includes a muralist section Michael rios mural from 1972, referring to police brutality. The mural of Rios which people call the “mission coalition organization fresco” and was located at 23rd Street and Folsom is no longer there.
“I love the murals in the murals… paying homage to other muralists,” said Ippolito, who called Rios a legend and “one of his favorite artists”.
Ippolito is also working on the Roadmap to peace Mural of the Youth Center for at Language school and vocational training, where the Latino task force hosted its food and resource center during the pandemic.
Ippolito says: “We honor those who work in the community and we work together as a community from the design I created to achieve this.”
“I really appreciate the parts about affordable housing that are a little more subliminal … I just feel like it’s very close to where I live … just the mission and what the mission stands for and our ‘Cultura’ you know?