The Coalition To Protect Public Art
* SF Chronicle, July 16, 2019: Mural supporters plan 2020 ballot measure to protect frescos at Washington High *
Artnet News, July 10, 2019: "This Artist Painted the Black Radical Response to the George Washington Slaveholder Murals. Here’s Why He Stands Against Destroying Them"
There are 13 New Deal murals on the walls of George Washington High School in San Francisco that were painted in fresco in 1936 by Coit Tower muralist Victor Arnautoff, a former assistant of Diego Rivera, as part of a publicly-funded Works Progress Administration mural project called "Life of George Washington."
On June 25, 2019, the San Francisco School Board voted to divert over $600,000 in taxpayer money away from teachers, students, and classrooms and instead spend it to whitewash and permanently destroy all 13 of these murals. The same anti-mural forces have now pledged to destroy other New Deal murals around San Francisco next, such as the WPA murals at Mission High School by Coit Tower artist Edith Hamlin.
To fight back to defend this and other important public art from permanent destruction, a coalition of artists and art organizations, educators, free speech and anti-censorship advocates, New Deal advocates, former students of the school, historic preservationists, and diverse San Franciscans from across the political spectrum have come together to form a new organization called the COALITION TO PROTECT PUBLIC ART.
Before the Arnautoff mural or other publicly-funded New Deal murals in San Francisco can be destroyed, the COALITION TO PROTECT PUBLIC ART is organizing, educating, and fighting back to prevent destruction of public art by putting a ballot measure before the voters so that all the people of San Francisco can have their voices heard on this issue. We are also supporting and advocating for a wide range of alternative options to increase education, provide mural context for viewers, create more art, and provide students and others a choice to decide for themselves whether or not to view art instead of the government destroying the murals or permanently preventing anyone from ever seeing them again.
We need your help to protect this important public art before it's too late - please donate, sign up, and join us now.