Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Murals of NOPA: John Adams Campus Art Enlivens Masonic Avenue

First in a series

Even with the speeding traffic of Masonic Avenue as its companion, the Educate to Liberate: Lessons in Community mural bears witness to art, the rewards of education, and the struggle for liberation. The John Adams Campus of the City College of San Francisco has featured a mural on a foundation wall between Hayes and Grove Streets for more than 30 years. Beginning in 1976 with Our History is No Mystery and with Educate to Liberate in 1988, artists have represented the triumphs and degradations of a journey toward freedom. Miranda Bergman, one of the artists of Educate, created a new design in 2006 that includes restored segments of the two previous murals and new sections as well.*

Educate to Liberate reflects the traditions of the Mexican muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Siqueiros with a vibrant clash between industrial/military forces and the celebration of life by people striving for respect and peace. The mural includes an homage to the two great Mexican artists with a depiction of books about their work. The message of Educate is too expansive for the Masonic Avenue exterior alone. The Bay Area's early native people are represented along Hayes Street.

When traffic calming comes to Masonic Avenue, NOPA neighbors and all San Franciscans will appreciate the beauty and the message of Educate to Liberate in a quieter, more peaceful environment. Until then, take a stroll on an early Sunday morning along this block of Masonic and turn west on Hayes to view one of our neighborhood's most significant works of public art.

* Our History is No Mystery and Educate to Liberate were painted by Miranda Bergman, Jane Norling and Arch Williams among others. The 2006 design was painted by Miranda Bergman, Jane Norling, Susan Cervantes, and other artists and neighborhood volunteers with support from City College, Precita Eyes Mural Arts, and the Zellerbach Family Foundation. The John Adams campus occupies the former Lowell High School building that was erected in 1911.

For posts added later in the Murals of NOPA series.


  1. this is a great informational post michael!
    i love that mural and have has been part of many pictures i've taken of my beloved machines on their way to my personal fave bike shop + guys at freewheel up the street. the bird on hayes is perhaps my favorite part, but the mural altogether is certailny significant and beautiful
    xo <3 m

  2. This used to be Lowell High School way back when: