The City is Our Canvas: A Bay Area Tour, in Murals

From the alleys of San Francisco to the streets of West Oakland, murals are cropping up throughout the Bay Area with themes as diverse as the artists who paint them.
2012 graffiti participant

Click Here to View the Photo Essay
Photos by Mark Andrew Boyer

From the alleys of San Francisco's Mission District to the busy streets of West Oakland, colorful messages of peace, dignity, and hope are cropping up throughout the Bay Area. The themes covered by Bay Area muralists are as diverse as the artists who paint them, but they have one thing in common: They transform blank walls and blighted buildings into canvases filled with vibrant images and uplifting messages.

Today's muralists have their roots in the contemporary mural movement of the 1970s, and some of the pioneers from that era are still very active. But they are also helping to pass the torch onto younger generations. Several of the region's leading mural arts organizations have robust youth outreach programs that use the power of art to inspire and empower young people.  

This photo essay was commissioned by the Global Oneness Project, reposted here with permission.

  • How art healed and united troubled communities in the City of Brotherly Love.

  • An artist's response to Arizona's ban on ethnic studies.

  • The writing’s on the wall—literally. Occupiers in L.A. take to a new medium and spread words of protest with chalk.
No Paywall. No Ads. Just Readers Like You.
You can help fund powerful stories to light the way forward.
Donate Now.