Precita Eyes

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Precita Eyes Muralists Association
Precita Eyes building.jpg
Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center
Founded 1977
Founder Susan and Luis Cervantes
Type Mural Arts Charity 501(c)(3)
Focus Collaborative Mural Arts, Neighborhood Improvement and Arts Education
  • Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center
    2981 24th Street, SF, CA
    Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center
    348 Precita Avenue, SF, CA
Origins Mural Art Movement
Area served
San Francisco, Bay Area, National, and International
Key people
Founder and Executive Director
Susan Cervantes

Precita Eyes Muralists Association is a community-based non-profit muralist and arts education group located in the Mission District of San Francisco, California, founded in 1977 by Susan and Luis Cervantes.[1]


Precita Eyes Muralists Association was founded in 1977 by Susan and Luis Cervantes who had come to the Bay Area several years before and started a family. Susan Cervantes herself had been inspired by “Las Mujeres Muralistas,” the first all-women group of collaborative muralists from which she applies her strategy of collaborative, accessible, community art.[1]

A Precita Eyes' mural on a garage door and fence in Balmy Alley
Also in Balmy Alley, by Precita Eyes Muralists, 1998
By Precita Eyes Muralists Youth Mural Workshop, 2003

The organization evolved from a community mural workshop in which the participants designed and painted the portable mural “Masks of God, Soul of Man” for the Bernal Heights Library.[2] The group signed the piece as Precita Eyes Muralists because the project was a collaborative effort. The name of the organization comes from the fact that most of the muralists were from Precita Valley. Precita is a diminutive form of the Spanish word ‘presa,’ which means dam; the word ‘Precita’ means little dam. The ‘Eyes’ in the name are what we perceive the visual world with, our own eyes.

After the first mural, the group of artists continued to be interested in creating murals. They completed two major mural commissions and several more portable murals. Two years later, the group applied for non-profit status in 1979. In 1998 Precita Eyes expanded its operations with the purchase of the building at 2981 24th Street, near the well-known Balmy Alley.[3] As of 2007, Precita Eyes had supported nearly 100 murals in the Mission neighborhood,[4] including on The Women's Building and Cesar Chavez Elementary School.[5]

Precita Eyes celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2007[6] and continues to conduct several mural projects each year. Recent projects include two international projects, one in Beijing, China[7] and the other in parts of Palestine and Lebanon. Other recent local projects involved the restoration of two San Francisco Parks, Excelsior Playground and Crocker-Amazon Playground. They also host an annual Urban Youth Arts Festival, with artists painting on boards in Precita Park.[8]

Murals are an expression of the culture of the neighborhood; in an article about Precita Eyes, muralist Juana Alicia Montoya said "In the 1960s and '70s, the Mission District became the cultural heart of the Chicano movement in California...And the murals were an integral part of that movement, as was theater and poetry."[9] The book Chicana and Chicano Art: ProtestArte says "Arts organizations such as Precita Eyes continue to support Chicano muralism's original objective: to create public art that authentically represents a community's history and culture."[10]


Precita Eyes Muralists is one of only a handful of mural arts organizations in the United States.[11] It maintains two centers. The original Mural Arts Center at 348 Precita Avenue is used primarily by the education program for toddler, kids and youth classes. The Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center, at 2981 24th Street, conducts mural tours; has a small art supply and mural merchandise store; is used as a gallery space and a space for workshops for adults to plan and design mural art; has space to work on mosaics and portable murals; and contains Precita Eyes Muralists’ Offices.

Precita Eyes Muralists offers weekly art classes for toddlers, children and youth 18 months to 19 years old.[12] These programs enable students to find and develop their confidence and individuality through arts and crafts, and experience positive social interaction through collaboration in a safe environment. It also offers regular workshops for adults such as the Community Mural Arts Education Workshop. Overall the educational programs serve approximately 3,000 children, youth and adults yearly, most of whom qualify as moderate to low income. People served by the program include young people caught for doing graffiti and required to do community service hours.[5]

Precita Eyes offers walking tours that cover mural history and the cultural and historical significance of the murals in Balmy Alley and the wider Mission district.[13] Tours are open to the public during the weekends. Private tours for large groups such as school classes or visiting groups can be scheduled during the weekday and are tailored to the audience.


  1. ^ a b Precita Eyes celebrates two decades of making walls, and community, bloom, by Will Cain, San Francisco Chronicle, October 17, 2007, access date July 18, 2008
  2. ^ González, Guadalupe (March 14, 2013). "Muralist Community Provides Tours of Iconic SF Art". Golden Gate Xpress. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ Precita Eyes Muralists, Precita Eyes Organizational History, Press kit. Retrieved on March 03, 2008
  4. ^ a b O'Donoghue, Liam (August 24, 2006). "Beauty on the Bricks: Precita Eyes Creates Murals and Artists". Fault Lines (San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center). Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ Precita Eyes celebrates three decades of making walls, and community, bloom, "dd_precita034.jpg" caption, San Francisco Chronicle, October 17, 2007, access date July 18, 2008
  6. ^ What's happening in China, by Nicolas C. Hope, Stanford Center for International Development, May 11, 2007, access date July 18, 2008
  7. ^ Fitzgerald Rodriguez, Joe (July 22, 2014). "Graffiti artists tagging in the sunshine at Precita Park". San Francisco Bay Guardian. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  8. ^ Tyche Hendricks, Tyche (May 6, 2005). "Celebrating art that draws people together". SFGate. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  9. ^ Jackson, Carlos Francisco (2009). Chicana and Chicano Art: ProtestArte. University of Arizona Press. p. 81. ISBN 9780816526475. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  10. ^ De Anda, Juan (June 13, 2014). "Tourism For Locals: Precita Eyes Paints the City Pretty". SF Weekly. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  11. ^ Casey, Cindy (March 25, 2013). "Precita Eyes covers McDonald's in Paint". Art and Architecture - San Francisco. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  12. ^ Miller Farr, Laurie Jo (January 26, 2015). "Best Art Walks In The Bay Area". CBS SF Bay Area. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 


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