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Saturday, June 2, 2012

San Francisco's Mosaic Street Art: Fell ST x Pierce ST

A few days ago I was up in SF and spotted a stunning mosaic mural running along the north side of Fell Street between Pierce and Steiner. I was thankful for A)The red light, and B) That I was the passenger in the car and not the driver so I could take some quick pictures while we parked at the intersection.

Online sleuthing brought good and bad news.

The good news is the piece was part of an art project made in 2009, in part, funded by a San Francisco's Community Challenge Grant to help students beautify their neighborhood and express their creativity. The mosaic is 200 feet long. This is just one section of it. It was designed and produced by the students at Ida B. Wells High School along with the founder of a local art non-profit.

Over the course of a decade the artist had produced over 80 murals and mosaics around the Bay Area.

The bad news? According to this CBS news article, the artist who ran the non-profit was arrested two years later in 2011. He was fined and sentenced earlier this year to 6 years in prison and 5 years probation for possessing an extensive collection of child pornography on his computer. A charge he plead guilty to.

With this knowledge my knee jerk reaction was what does this art symbolize now? The celebration of creativity by the children who helped to design and make the murals? Or does the sordid story, arrest and imprisonment of someone who worked closely with the children while harboring inappropriate thoughts about them take away too much from the work itself?

Some of the tiles were made by the students and include images of women they admire. If you look closely you'll see them tucked into the background of the mural. Because of this, ultimately, I think the creativity of the students shines through because light overcomes darkness and the piece is so beautiful you can't help but to feel awed by it when you stand in front of it and take in the scope of what the students accomplished.

To view the entire mosaic online or in person you can use the Maps.Google links below.

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