The Diego Rivera Mural Project, sponsored by City College of San Francisco, has as its mission the return of the mural to the position of public importance and influence envisioned by its creator. The 2020 SFMOMA Diego Rivera’s America exhibition will do much to expand the exposure of the mural.
The organizers of the 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition commissioned Diego Rivera to paint a large-scale fresco during the run of the fair. It was the centerpiece of Art in Action, an innovative exhibit where fairgoers could watch artists create their work. Several of these works of art adorn the CCSF Ocean Campus.
After the fair closed, the mural was intended to be placed in the new library of San Francisco Junior College (now City College of San Francisco). This library was part of a grand architectural plan developed by Timothy Pflueger, a prominent local architect, one of the organizers of the fair, and Rivera’s patron and friend.
World War Two interrupted these plans. Pflueger’s library was never built and the ten panels of the mural were crated and stored first on the fairgrounds and then at the College until Rivera’s death in 1957. That year, Milton Pflueger, Timothy’s younger brother, proposed to install the mural in the lobby of the new campus theater. The mural was moved into this lobby in 1961. It will be de-installed and loaned to SFMOMA in the summer of 2020. Plans are to return the mural to a new Diego Rivera Theatre in 2023.
With an eye to the mural’s past history, its present circumstances and its future well into the next century, the Diego Rivera Mural Project has set the following goals:
- Insure the physical safety and stability of the mural.
- Maintain a safe, stable and appropriate environment for the mural.
- Integrate the mural into the educational and cultural communities of the college, city, state and hemisphere.
- Establish sources of revenue that will make the Project self-supporting.
City College has several specific activities which will contribute to the long and overdue return of the mural to the public prominence it held in 1940 when thousands of San Franciscans came to Treasure Island for its final unveiling.
- Establishing a training program for docents, including bilingual docents.
- Developing the Project website to provide high-resolution details of the mural, extensive historical information, and the current status of the Project’s activities.
- Acquiring, processing and maintaining access to primary and secondary materials for the Rivera Collection.
- Working with an International Advisory Council to provide the foundation for City College’s vision and the support for its activities.
Increasing public awareness and support will lay the foundation for achieving the Project’s other long-term goal: to move the mural to a better venue on campus.
The Diego Rivera Mural Project is a collaborative effort between the private sector and the students, faculty, and administration of City College of San Francisco who share the common goal of expanding the mural’s viewing audience. In furthering the dream of Diego Rivera, this dedicated team has worked together using new media, community outreach, and educational activities “to bring the public back to public art.”
- Julia Bergman, Archivist (deceased) STORYCORPS Interview, March 11, 2010
- Nicole Oest, Student Docent Program Coordinator
- Will Maynez, Historian
- Anna Asebedo, Chair, Art Department
- Edgar Torres, Chair, Latin American and Latino/a Studies Department
- Jeffrey Goldthorpe, English professor and curriculum coordinator
- KenZoe Brian J. Selassie-Okpe, Dean of School of Fine, Applied, & Communication Arts
- Will Maynez, Web Administrator
- Camille Davis, Web Developer
International Advisory Council 2000
- Coordinator: Bob Conway
- Dra. Guadalupe Rivera Marin, Fundacion Diego Rivera, Honorary Chairperson
- Joan Abrahamson, President, Jefferson Institute
- Lilia Aguilera, Mexico City
- Tim Burgard, Curator of American Art, FAMSF
- Susan Cervantes, Director, Precita Eyes Mural Art Center
- Linda Downs, Executive Director, College Art Association
- Lorraine Garcia Nakata, Independent Consultant
- Marjorie Harth, Director, Montgomery Gallery of Pomona College
- Charles Karelis, Former President, Colgate University
- Peter Landsberger, Interim Chancellor, Los Angeles Community College District
- Debra Lehane, Former Program Director, Civic Art Collection, San Francisco Art Commission
- Luis-Martin Lozano, Director, Museum of Modern Art, Mexico
- Gregorio Luke, Executive Director, Museum of Latin American Art
- Mary Anne Martin, Director, Mary Anne Martin Fine Art
- Amalia Mesa Baines, Director,Visual & Public Arts, CSU Monterey Bay Director, Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
- Richard Thompson, President, Thompson Publishing Group