Mission murals tour

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San Francisco has always welcomed those who crave an outlet for free expression, and its tradition of public art—both officially sanctioned and otherwise—has made the city a grand canvas with works that adorn facades, plazas, alleyways and even the exterior walls of burrito joints. The Mission District is as vibrantly illustrated as many of the tattooed residents that live and work among over 90 documented murals and hundreds of others.

Chockablock with billboards, business signage and the detritus of a bustling, hardworking neighborhood, the streets and alleyways surrounding the Precita Eyes Mural Arts and Visitors Center (24th St between Alabama and Harrison Sts) constitute nothing less than an open-air museum where world-class painters have created staggeringly complex pieces at a scale (sometimes covering entire three-story buildings) that is meant to be both examined in detail and admired from afar. For almost four decades Precita Eyes has been both the caretaker and instigator of the Mission’s mural movement. While some works have existed as long, and been maintained and restored over decades, the proximity to urban life (not least the scourge of taggers) means others are transient.

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