Art Out of Turmoil: Mission Care Center Converts Plywood into Community Murals
SAN FRANCISCO – Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation (SPMF) invited a dozen local artists along with employees and their family and friends to craft murals on its temporarily boarded-up windows at 899 Valencia Street Care Center, a group of family and internal medicine clinicians who see children and adults.
In response to recent racial justice protests in the Mission District, the primary care clinic, which sits at the corner of Valencia Street and 20th Street in the heart of the Mission, erected plywood boards to protect the facility and ensure it would remain open and able to provide healthcare for patients.
The clinic provides routine health care services, including preventive care, women’s health, chronic condition management, and treatment for acute illnesses for this diverse community, and has remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The project’s goal has been to create a safe space for artists to express themselves in support of recent urgent civil issues, which directly impact this community,” said SPMF Care Center Manager Andrea Contreras.
Local artists painted colorful murals on 16 large floor-to-ceiling wooden panels. Themes focused on essential workers, Black Lives Matter and health in the community. Mediums ranged from graffiti to paint to vinyl wall wraps with messages like “Essential Workers for President!” and “We are with you 899.”
“Our center understands there are many challenges in the struggle for equality and firmly believes that well-being, safety and quality-of-life must include quality health care,” said Robert Nordgren, M.D., CEO of the Sutter Bay Medical Foundation, who attended the painting.
The Mission District has a proud tradition of creating murals to reflect the current culture and changing times. As onlookers passed by the artworks in progress, many stopped to praise the bold emerging themes and to share their happiness over the new colorful—and powerful—displays.
“While these boards are temporary, we hope this gesture will be a long-lasting force for bringing the community together to heal,” said Dr. Nordgren.