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Crosscurrents

40 years of seeing murals through Precita Eyes

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Susan Cervantes
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A mural in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood

40 years ago Susan Cervantes and her husband Luis founded Precita Eyes Muralists in San Francisco's Mission District.

These days, it’s impossible to walk around the Mission without running into a mural. But that wasn’t always the case. Originally inspired by the Mujeres Muralistas, a pioneering women’s muralist collective based in the neighborhood, Cervantes and Precita Eyes have helped create more than 400 murals throughout the city and beyond.

CERVANTES: It wasn't hard for me to imagine, or even to think big because I always painted very big. And what I liked about it was it was for the people.

Precita Eyes holds its first-ever Street Art in Cinema Film Festival at the Grand Theater in San Francisco on Saturday, June 17th. You can also join Cervantes on a special anniversary mural history tour around the Mission on Saturday, June 17th and every third Saturday through September.  

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Jen Chien was the managing editor for Crosscurrents and KALW News from 2016 to 2018. She has been a contributor to All Things Considered, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, BBC/PRI’s The World, Making Contact, SF Public Press, East Bay Express, New America Media, and KPFA in Berkeley, where she took part in the First Voice Apprenticeship Program. She is the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Emerging Journalist Award from the Society of Professional Journalists of Northern California. She holds a BA in American Studies from Smith College, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Performance from New College of California. Before entering the field of journalism, she had a successful career as a professional dance and theater artist, teacher, and massage therapist.