Community ceremony and rededication for newly restored mural "500 Years of Resistance."
The colorful, iconic mural at St. Peter's Church in the Mission District spans two walls at the corner of 24th and Florida Streets. Originally painted in 1992, the mural was created by world-renowned master mural artist Isaias Mata from El Salvador. The mural was originally commissioned and envisioned by the late Father Jack Isaacs, to honor the history and culture of the migrant community living in San Francisco, many of whom were and still are faithful St. Peter's parishioners.
A celebration of Latin American history, culture, and the reality of life for many migrants now living in the US, 500 Years of Resistance is an affirmation of communities uniting to support one another in friendship and peace. The completion of this project comes on the heels of the immigration legislation proposals coming out of Washington, DC. This mural reminds us of the importance of reforms that promote dignity, human rights and fairness towards all people and the critical role of the labor movement in pressing for social and economic justice.
This mural, considered a masterpiece, was awarded "Best Work of the Year" in 1993 by Precita Eyes Muralists Association, and is among the most visited and beloved in San Francisco's Mission District. It has been featured in the internationally acclaimed book, San Francisco Street Art: Mission Muralismo," and is a studied topic in many universities and high schools around the world. Mata's design took him over nine months to paint in 1992, but after twenty-one years of exposure to the elements, the mural has greatly deteriorated.
Earlier this year, IBEW 1245 (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) labor organizer Eileen Purcell, Susan Cervantes, the founder and co-director of Precita Eyes, Jeannette Saccheri, the long-term office manager of St. Peter's Parish, and Jose Artiga, director of the SHARE Foundation formed an organizing committee to raise the funds to preserve the mural. Artiga reached out to the original artist, Isaias Mata, top invite him to return to San Francisco to execute the restoration, with
technical support from Precita Eyes Muralists Association. St. Peter’s pastor, Father Jose Manuel Estrada, and Father Anthony McGuire, former Dean of the Mission Deanery in San Francisco, offered their support for the project.
Over a two month period, the St. Peter’s Mural Organizing Committee reached out to parishioners and to neighborhood, labor, religious, academic and philanthropic leaders and organizations to raise the funds for the mural. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and includes support from the St. Josephs-St. Patrick’s Alumni Association, the San Francisco Foundation, the Redwood City Catholic Worker House, the University of San Francisco, IBEW 1245, and the San Francisco Bay Area Port Maritime Council, St. Peter’s parishioners and countless individuals.
Mata came to San Francisco from El Salvador to repair the mural in early April, a process that has taken three weeks to complete. During the restoration process hundreds of individuals, artists, tourists and community members, have stopped by to express their support for the renovation of this beautiful
work of art. 500 Years of Resistance is an integral part of the 24th street “cultural corridor” and thanks to the artist, St. Peter’s Parish, Precita Eyes Muralists Association, IBEW 1245, the SHARE Foundation and broad community support this historic masterpiece will continue to live on for years to come. The city of
San Francisco has presented a resolution to commend the preservation of the mural “500 Years of Resistance” and declare it a “treasure” of the Mission District and the City of San Francisco.
Master artist Isaias Mata is a widely recognized artist who has painted murals in Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, Mexico, El Salvador, Boston, MA, New York City, and Burlington, Vermont, in addition to his paintings and drawings which have been displayed in galleries in the US, Italy, Japan, Canada, Cuba and Central and South America. Mata presented the topic of mural painting and art at global conferences,
universities and in art schools in the U.S., Central and South America.
For more information contact the St. Peter’s Mural Restoration Organizing Committee:
Susan Cervantes, Director Precita Eyes.
Jose Artiga, Director Share Foundation
Jeannette Saccheri, Office Manager, St. Peter’s Parish
Eileen Purcell, Organizer, IBEW 1245
Isaias Mata, Master Artist
t. 415.955.7602 t. (El Salvador) 503.72607955
or [email protected]