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Juana Alicia

Poetic Justice/ Justicia Poética: Exhibit at the Center for Latino Policy Research at UC Berkeley

Works of Local Artist Juana Alicia Displayed at Berkeley Center


Poetic Justice / Justicia Poética, The Art of Juana Alicia

Media contact: Sally Douglas Arce

Poetic Justice / Justicia Poética
Art Exhibit Celebrates the Expansion of
The Center for Latino 
Policy Research at UC Berkeley


Feb. 27, 2017 through April 6, 2017

Berkeley, January 23, 2017 – Marking the grand opening of the expanded Center for Latino Policy Research (CLPR) at the University of California, Berkeley, the Center presents an art exhibit by renowned muralist and fine artist Juana Alicia from Monday, Feb. 27th through Thursday, March 30th. CLPR, now entering its 28th year, has expanded and now has a new space for the integration of the arts, interdisciplinary research, and policy. The Poetic Justice/Justicia Poética exhibit will feature more than 14 of Juana Alicia’s prints, paintings, and sculpture – a mix of new pieces never exhibited and earlier art works.


“We are honored that Juana Alicia’s work will be featured at the opening of our brand-new and enlarged Center for Latino Policy Research,” says Professor Patricia Baquedano-López, CLPR chair. “Her work and her life trajectory express both witnessing and testimonio (testimony) of our communities’ struggles and forward movement.”


With Latino communities experiencing disenfranchisement and fears of deportation, the Center has created a unique place to foster innovation and creativity, and to synergistically advance knowledge that elevates Latino cultural, social, and political power. For the opening series of events in 2017, the center has turned to Latino artists, cultural visionaries and intermediaries. The goal is to foster conversations that bolster enthusiasm and energy through both reflection and action.


The Poetic Justice opening reception takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, March 3 at CLPR, 2547 Channing Way, Berkeley and is part of a month-long Open House titled Arts in Our Community: Latinx Visions for Social Justice.


Poetic Justice/Justicia Poética Art Exhibition Hours

2547 Channing Way (between Telegraph Ave. and Haste), Berkeley

Feb. 27 through March 30

Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays


“I am proud to be part of the inauguration of the Center for Latino Policy Research in Berkeley,” says Juana Alicia. “This is an auspicious debut especially given the fact that by 2020, experts believe that Latinos in California will be the majority population. My art inspires people to connect with their individual struggles and work collectively to address their challenges.”

In addition to the Friday, March 3 opening reception, these events are part of the CLPR Open House:


  • Wednesday, March 8 at 4 p.m. – Radical Poster Making for Collective Liberation: A Hands On Workshop with Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza of Dignidad Rebelde




  • Friday, March 10 at 4 p.m. – Poetic Justice/Justicia Poética: A Presentation and Conversation with Juana Alicia• Berkeley Leadership: A Reception for Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, 5PM, at the Center for Latino Policy Research, 2547 Channing Way
  • Thursday, March 23 at 5 p.m. – Telling Our Stories, a talk and film screening with Ray Telles


Admission to the exhibition and to all events is at no cost.  Students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the general public are encouraged to visit and connect with CLPR’s vibrant new center for intellectual and cultural work that focuses upon issues central to the Latino community.


About Center for Latino Policy Research (CLPR)

The Center for Latino Policy Research (CLPR) was founded in 1989 in response to the challenges of limited educational, political, and economic opportunities facing the Latino/Chicano population. The Center’s mission is to produce research and policy that can leverage the complexity of the Latino experience in the United States and to shed light on the myriad factors that affect the distribution of material, social, and political opportunities. Not only are Latinos the nation’s largest minority group, but any study involving Latino experience requires an intersectional approach which takes into consideration issues of race/phenotype, gender, class, age, sexuality, national origin, and language use. CLPR accomplishes its mission through its staffs’ ongoing commitment to community-engaged research projects that work to inform local, state, national, and international policies that affect Latinos.


The staffs’ vision for the Center includes fostering community participation in the research process, redefining how the university relates to the community, and also ensuring that the Center’s research products are relevant to and reach those most directly affected. CLPR has recently expanded its programming to include the arts, media, and the humanities with the goal of becoming a true hub of intellectual and artistic life at U.C. Berkeley and the surrounding community. The center staff is excited to welcome visitors to their new and remodeled offices at the Shorb House.

More about

Center for Latino Policy Research
For 28 years, the Center for Latino Policy and Research (CLPR) at UC Berkeley has played a central role in advancing knowledge about the demographic changes within California and the patterns of inequality Latinos face across the country.

CLPR scholars engage in collaborative work with a broad non-profit, governmental, and private institutions to produce research and policy recommendations that can illuminate the Latino experience and shed light on the myriad factors that affect the distribution of material, social, and political opportunities. CLPR is committed to community-engaged research projects that inform local, state, national and international policies that affect Latinos.

In 2014, CLPR began work on the Latinos and Technology research initiative. The research, which is ongoing, defines the best ways to bridge dialogue between university scholars, community members, and tech industry representatives in order to help shape policies to increase the number of Latinas/os in the tech industry. In 2011, CLPR and Mission Economic Development Agency in San Francisco’s Mission District established the Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) partnership. Together, they developed innovative strategies to improve the outcomes of school children in the Mission District. CLPR completed a comprehensive needs assessment of the Mission neighborhood and the MPN target school population.

More about Juana Alicia and Poetic Justice / Justicia Poética

To celebrate the opening of their new and enlarged center, the Center for Latino Policy Research (CLPR) is pleased to present the artwork of Juana Alicia. Poetic Justice is on display Feb. 27 through March 30, Mon. to Thurs. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2547 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA. “As we began expanding the scope of CLPR to integrate the arts, media, and humanities, Juana Alicia’s work immediately came to mind,” says Professor Patricia Baquedano-López, CLPR chair. “The content of Juana Alicia’s art is deeply human and it makes us become witnesses of the precarious of life and indignities faced by Latinos. Her art opens doors to possibilities of new forms of social justice. We want those attending the exhibition to feel empowered and moved to action.”


Juana Alicia Biography

For four decades, Juana Alicia has been creating murals and teaching. Her sculptural and painted public works can be seen in Nicaragua, Mexico, Pennsylvania, and in many parts of California. Her work is associated with the greatest artistic and political achievements of the Chicano movement. She has a large body of public work in San Francisco. She founded and has directed the Public Art Program at Berkeley City College, and its True Colors Mural Project, which has created ten public murals in the Bay Area.

Juana Alicia is illustrating the forthcoming book in Spanish titled “La X’tabay” by Tirso Araiza. The book, a traditional folk tale told in the style of magical realism, will be translated into English and Yucatec Maya. Some of this book’s illustrations are featured in the Justicia Poética exhibition. Juana Alicia’s works are in many media, including traditional acrylic murals, true fresco, mosaic tile, and ceramic relief sculptural murals. She is also an accomplished printmaker and studio painter. Her prolific public commissions include SANARTE at U.C.S.F. Medical Center, SANTUARIO at the San Francisco International Airport, LA LLORONA’S SACRED WATERS at 24th and York Streets in the Mission District of San Francisco, GEMELOS at the Metropolitan Technical University in Mérida, Mexico (with Tirso Araiza), and a suite of murals for Stanford University’s Centro Chicano, entitled THE SPIRAL WORD. She is recognized for the power of her style and content. For more information, please see

For more information: or

For press inquiries: or 520/525-9552

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JUANA ALICIA Featured in San Francisco Art Commission’s PASSPORT 2014



2781 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Llorona G. Llorona, Chalchi from lft side


Passport is Back Again Taking on The Mission

When: Sunday, October 26
Stamping: noon – 4pm
After-Party: 4 – 6pm, Location TBA
Where: The Mission, Calle 24 Cultural District

What is Passport? Launched by the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries in 2009, Passport is an annual outreach event that strives to both broaden exposure of the arts while also enlivening economic development in various neighborhoods across San Francisco. Every year over 400 local participants spend a day visiting varioussmall businesses in one of San Francisco’s lively neighborhoods to create their very own limited edition art book of stamps by local artists.

Participating Artists:  Juana AliciaVal Britton, Enrique Chagoya, Kara Maria, Ranu Mukherjee,Sirron Norris, Kelly Ording, Chris Sollars, Alice ShawBrian Singer, Imin Yeh, Jessica Sabogal, Fred Alvarado and Victor De La Rosa.
Additional artists are still being added to the lineup.

How does it work? Passport participants purchase a customized notebook either prior to or on the day of the event. Ticket sale proceeds offset event costs. (A limited number of passports are distributed free of charge to select host neighborhood nonprofit organizations.) Passport holders then follow a map to various small businesses where emerging and established local artists will stamp their books. The event strives for participants to newly discover one of San Francisco’s neighborhoods, meet local artists, participate in a DIY art collecting experience, and support local businesses all at the same time.

Celebrating neighborhoods and local businesses. Passport takes place in a different neighborhood each year; past neighborhoods included The Mission, The Castro, Hayes Valley, North Beach and the Divisadero Corridor. The selected Passport host venues represent both established and new businesses that define the specific character of each neighborhood.

“When I was approached by the SFAC to participate in Passport 2010 I didn’t know what the impact would be on my business, but I wanted to take part in an event intended to celebrate Hayes Valley merchants. Hundreds of people came into my store throughout the day, and many of them had never been to Zonal before. I even set up free ice cream samples for the Passport holders from my friend who was interested in promoting an ice cream venture in the neighborhood! It was a fun day that delivered on its promise to drive new traffic to my store. I also really enjoyed my time with the artist we hosted!” – Russell Pritchard, Zonal, Hayes Valley.

“For Passport 2013 we partnered with the artist we hosted to create tote bags featuring his artwork. This was an amazing collaboration that creatively and financially benefited both the artist and our store. We really value the new audience Passport brought to Workshop and would recommend the experience to future host businesses.”  – Kelly Malone, Workshop, Divisadero Corridor.

Passport 2014 will be held in The Mission’s Calle 24 Cultural District, one of the Invest in Neighborhoods corridors:

Connecting artists to the community. Each year the 14 – 16 Passport artists that are selected to participate have a direct relationship to the host neighborhood and/or have exhibited at the SFAC Galleries. We select emerging and established artists that embrace the SFAC core value of cultural equity.

Who produces the event? Passport was created, and is organized by the San Francisco Arts Commission, and led by the SFAC Galleries staff and volunteers. The Passport Committee selects the neighborhood and artists, establishes a connection with the location business associations, selects host and sponsoring venues, executes marketing and outreach, and oversees the design and production of promotional materials.

I can’t go that day but I still want a Passport. Help!
Don’t worry, we will stamp it for you. For $125, collectors can purchase a Concierge Passport; gallery staff will collect all the stamps and mail it to the purchaser’s home.

To purchase please call the SFAC Gallery at 415.252.2568 or email Meg Shiffler, gallery director at


Juana Alicia and the Alliance for California Traditional Arts


Juana Alicia


Chicano mural painting  The Chicano Mural Movement began in the 1960s in Mexican-American barrios throughout the Southwest. Artists began using the walls of city buildings, housing projects, schools, and churches to depict Mexican-American culture.  Chicano muralism has been linked to pre-Columbian peoples of the Americas, that recorded their rituals and history on the walls of their pyramids, and Mexican revolutionary-era painters José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siquieros, collectively known as los tres grandes, whose work is well-known in Europe, the United States and of course Mexico. During the Chicano social and cultural movement that occurred throughout the Southwest in the 1960s and 1970s, mural production became part of the effort of Latinos to reinvigorate their cultural heritage, affirm cultural identity, and challenge racism.


Juana Alicia began painting murals as a teenager, over four decades ago.  She learned from other Chicano/a muralists, her peers (Mujeres Muralistas, Yolanda Lopez, Cruz Zamarrón), and Mexican artists such as Alfredo Zalce.  In the 1980s and 90s, she apprenticed with Diego Rivera’s assistant fresco artists, Lucienne Bloch and Stephan Dimitriov.  Her adult work evolved on the streets of the Mission District of San Francisco, the Latino neighborhood that has been home to a mural renaissance since the 1970s.  Juana has been teaching mural painting since 1981. As a current master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program, Juana will share with her apprentice Cece Carpio the significance and power of public visual art as a tool towards social justice.

Kickstarter Campaign for REALM Charter School Mural


Fresh Start: Interactive Mural @ Realm Charter School – True Colors Mural Project 2012

True Colors is the public murals program based at Berkeley City College, fiscally sponsored by Earth Island Institute, and directed by Juana Alicia Araiza. Through Juana Alicia’s Mural Design and Creation 
classes, True Colors creates one or more public murals 
every year with social and environmental justice themes.

True Colors’ 2011-2012 Mural Project is a collaboration with the REALM Charter School, located in West Berkeley. REALM is a project-based, technology-rich learning environment that immerses their teachers and students in authentic virtual learning environments that require collaboration, inquiry, critical thinking, ingenuity, and imagination.

This year’s project is to create an environmental “Game Board” themed mural with a virtual game component.  This concept is to expand the mural’s online presence which allows students to write stories, illustrate and create animations of how to actually play the game. The mural displays narratives of nationally recognized, young environmental leaders intermingled with real and imagined scenarios. These scenes illustrate communities working towards environmental sustainability. The muralists are collaborating with REALM’s students to research, design and paint the new mural and create the virtual board game. All students participated in community surveys, oral histories, and site-based research to develop the content, form and aesthetics of the mural. The research and design are close to completion, and the unveiling will take place on June 2012.

True Colors’ “Fresh Start” mural and its virtual component can only be completed through direct human interaction.  This project involves community to navigate complex information utilizing emerging technologies. The audience/participants not only view the mural, but also play with the design that becomes an actual living experience and on-line journey. The environmental issues and messages chosen impact people’s everyday lives and encourage the community to take positive social action. Imagine landing on square that leads you to learn about lead poisoning issues and solutions in West Berkeley.  “Playing” will educate the students and community about ideas and practices leading to environmental sustainability. We intend that, through this project, all participants will recognize and activate their ability to shape our world and to better humanity.


About True Colors

True Colors Mural Project at
Berkeley City College and Earth Island Institute


Making Berkeley Greener and More Beautiful, One Wall at a Time!


True Colors is the public murals program at Berkeley City College, founded and directed by Juana Alicia. Through her Mural Design and Creation classes at BCC, and in collaboration with the City of Berkeley’s Youth Works Program, Earth Island Institute and other community based organizations, True Colors creates one or more public murals each year. The True Colors Mural Project supports the development of young artist/ activists for the improvement of the urban environment through the creation of public murals. The purpose of the murals is to both educate urban dwellers and beautify the urban environment with messages and images that support ecological sustainability, conservation and restoration. The project recruits, engages and employs under-served, at risk youth from Berkeley and the greater East Bay, in vital community environmental mural arts projects. True Colors trains young artists to design and create community murals with social and environmental justice themes.

Latin@ Printmakers Exhibition: Grabados de Paz y Guerra

Latin@ Printmakers Exhibition: Grabados de Paz y Guerra
March 14th through April 30th
Opening Reception: March 18th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Berkeley City College

The Latin@ Printmakers Exhibition: Grabados de Paz y Guerra, features the work of respected Latina/o printmakers on the topic of war and peace, and is scheduled to take place this spring at Berkeley City College’s Jerry Adams Gallery. Curated by artist and BCC visual arts instructor Juana Alicia Araiza, the show comments on war, violence, immigration, international movements of resistance and peace.

The Jerry Adams Gallery is located on the first floor of the college, and the artwork is visible through plate glass windows that face onto Center Street, in downtown Berkeley. The six-week exhibit will be part of an eighteen-month long project at Berkeley City College, entitled Sorrows of War: Struggles for Peace, which will include a lecture series, exhibits, curricular offerings and other important activities and events. The exhibit will take place March 14th through April 30th, with an opening reception on March 18th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Berkeley City College is located at 2050 Center Street, between Shattuck and Milvia Streets, on half block from the downtown Berkeley BART Station. We are honored to announce that renowned Berkeley Poet Rafael Jesus González will be reading his poetry for the reception.

Featured Artists: Ester Hernández    Juan Fuentes    Tirso Araiza     Artemio Rodriguez    Jesus Barraza    Melanie Cervantes    Emmanuel C. Montoya    Gabriel Martinez

For more information, please contact Juana Alicia at

Successful Funding Campaign for the Satellite Mural Installation

Update #10: Preparing for Satellite Installation, Launching a New Project

Posted 3 days ago

Hello Friends and Supporters,

First of all, thank you for making the upcoming mural installation possible. For those of you that completed your surveys and sent me your addresses, all backer rewards have been mailed as of today. With an awesome eighty backers, it took me a while to package and mail all of the rewards. The $25 and $100 rewards went out this morning, so please look for them in the next few days. All other rewards went out several weeks ago.

Gonzalo Hidalgo will be starting the installation of the Huehuetlatolli Murals at Satellite Senior Housing between April 15th and 20th, and I am anticipating an early fall inauguration. I will keep you posted. I am currently finishing a new set of murals for the Centro Chicano at Stanford University, and the works in progress can be seen at the following web site: An April installation is anticipated for these as well, with a fall inauguration to follow. I will also invite all backers to that party as well!

Finally, I am directing a new project with my students at Berkeley City College, the True Colors Mural Project for the REALM Charter School in West Berkeley. We are currently in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign for that project as well:
If you can support us in that effort, I would greatly appreciate it. All funds for the project go to Earth Island Institute, our fiscal agent. Therefore, in this case, your donations are also tax deductible! Please watch the REALM School project video and support my students’ work for environmental justice in the public schools.

Many thanks,

Juana Alicia

The meaning of the works is stated eloquently in the poetry of Berkeley elder poet Rafael Jesús Gonzalez, from his piece Huehuetlatolli: The Wisdom of Elders, which was a key inspiration for my murals. Here is a selection of one of his verses:                        

Huehuetlatolli for Juana Alicia’s Satellite Elders’ Housing Project
…Mensaje de sabiduría
Escucha bien:lo más importantees saber amar.
Listen well:the most important thingis to know how to love.
Anciana a la joven:
La belleza, hija,viene del corazón.
Beauty, daughter,comes from the heart…
© Rafael Jesús González 2007

As the poetry expresses, the murals honor our nature and the natural world from which we come. They portray the five elements: air, water, fire, earth and the souI, with images of elder men and women speaking to young men and women. The human images emerge from the earth motif. This particular project has the goal of creating artworks at a grassroots level to promote environmental justice in underserved neighborhoods. This is a sustainable architecture program which serves low-income seniors. Thanks to everyone for helping make this project a reality!

Best regards,

Juana Alicia

The images below represent some of the prints and posters I have sent you as gifts for your contributions. Please see the Kickstarter site for more details:

Mission Street Manifesto, poster of drawing for mural at San Francisco State University,, 1984©Juana Alicia

Don't Look Back, Giclee Print, 2006 ©Juana Alicia

Spill/Derrame, giclee print, Juana Alicia©2011

Tejedora de Sueños, silkscreen print, ©Juana Alicia and Miranda Bergman, 2010















March 7, 2011

HUEHUETLATOLI: WISDOM OF THE ELDERS: THE SOUL/EL ALMA, detail of relief sculpture for Satellite Senior Housing, Berkeley, California. 2’x4’, cast resin, Juana Alicia ©2007, World Rights Reserved.

Dear Community Supporters,

I am requesting your help to raise funds to complete the installation of ten monumental ceramic murals that I have created for Satellite Senior Housing’s Helios Corner Project in West Berkeley. In 2004, Satellite’s director at that time approached me to create site specific works for their anticipated low-income senior housing project for the corner of University Avenue and Sacramento Street. After a thorough community research project, many oral interviews with Berkeley elders, community leaders and environmental activists, such as the Berkeley Grey Panthers, community organizers Sol Levinson and Dr. Salvador Murillo, environmental biologist Dr. Ignacio Chapela, State Senator Lonie Hancock and many others, I designed a series of 2′ x 11′ and 2′ x 8′ ceramic bas relief murals for the facade of the now-completed building. Satellite then contracted me to fabricate my design, which I did over a period of two years, including during my Fulbright in Yucatán, Mexico, where I had studio facilities that allowed me to work on a larger scale than usual.

I worked for four years to design and fabricate the panels, and finished them in June of 2008. Since then, they have been sitting in boxes in a basement at one of Satellite’s facilities, waiting for installation. Satellite received a grant from Open Circle Foundation for $5,000 for the installation in 2007, but still needs to raise another $5,000 to pay for the complete installation. Although I have moral support from local Berkeley officials like Councilwoman Linda Maio and Civic Arts Commission Coordinator Mary Ann Merker, there is apparently no money in the City of Berkeley available for the completion of this project. I am requesting your support in the amount of $5,000 to make the installation of this work a reality.

HUEHUETLATOLI: WISDOM OF THE ELDERS: SHARING EARTH WISDOM, detail of relief sculpture for Satellite Senior Housing, Berkeley, California. 2’x4’, cast resin, Juana Alicia ©2007, World Rights Reserved.

This particular project has the goal of creating artworks at a ” grassroots level to promote environmental justice in underserved neighborhoods.” This is a sustainable architecture program which serves the poor. The new building is a “green structure”, featuring a  photovoltaic solar energy system, central hydronic heating system, passive solar layout, drought-tolerant landscaping and a transit-oriented location with supplemental van service (slide show: Additionally, this work, entitled “Huehuetlatoli: The Wisdom of the Elders”, expresses this wisdom as embedded in the five natural elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air and the Soul. In recent years, I have explored more permanent materials that integrate smoothly into the architecture for which I design.(See for images of SANARTE murals and sidewalk for UCSF Medical Center). These ceramic panels are nearly maintenance-free. I have now lived in Berkeley for fifteen years, though most of my body of work is found in San Francisco and Latin America. Although I was paid for my work, it saddens me to have it languishing in boxes. It is my strong desire to see this work completed and given to the City of Berkeley’s low-income seniors and community at large.

Thank you for helping us meet our goal.

Best regards,

Juana Alicia

Tile waiting for a home at Helios Corner, Satellite Senior Housing in Berkeley







Juana Alicia: Resumé


Masters in Fine Arts, Drawing and Painting, San Francisco Art Institute, May, 1990

B.A. in Teaching Aesthetic Awareness from a Cultural Perspective, University of California at Santa Cruz, 1979

Single Subjects Credential in Art Education, 1980

Bilingual Cross-Cultural Emphasis Credential, U.C.S.C., 1979

Fifth Year Certificate in Bilingual Education, 1983

Passed the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test), 1998


Living Cultures Grant, ACTA (Association of California Tradition Arts), 2014

Apprenticeship Grant, ACTA (Association of California Tradition Arts), 2014, for mentoring artist Cece Carpio.

City of Berkeley, Juana Alicia Day, June 4, 2013, Proclamation by Mayor Tom Bates in honor of cultural and educational contributions.

Legacy Award, Chicana Latina Foundation, 2008, San Francisco, California.

Fulbright Fellowship, (Garcia-Robles), sponsoring institution:Escuela Superior de Arte de Yucatán (ESAY), Visiting Professor in Mural Arts/Painting, 2006-2007.

California State Senate, Outstanding Contributions as an Oakland Arts Educator, 2004.

Woman of Fire Award, Presented by Angela Davis for the Women of Color Resource Center, Berkeley, Ca 2000

Residency at Windcall Ranch, Belgrade. Montana, 1999. Windcall is a retreat program for environmental and social justice activists who have worked in their field for at least five years and are in earnest need of a break.

NACS (National Association of Chicano Studies), for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts, Academia and Our Communities, 1993.

Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center, Master Muralist Award, 1992.

National Endowment for the Humanities, BIRTH MURAL Best Visual Art Work with a Chicano/Mexicano Theme, through the University of California, Santa Cruz, 1982.


Street Art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo, Precita Eyes Mural Art Center, Harry Abrams, 2009.

Mujeres de Conciencia/Women of Conscience, Victoria Alvarado, Floricanto Press, 2007.

Mural Art: Murals on Huge Public Surfaces Around the World, Kiriakos, Iosifidis, Publikat, 2008.

Walls of Empowerment: Chican/o Indigenist Murals of California, Guisela Latorre, University of Texas Press, Austin 2008

Chicana Art: The Politics of Spiritual and Aesthetic Altarities, Laura Perez, Duke University Press, 2007

Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terrorism, Co-Authors: Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, Chapter 10: Celebrate Joyful Revolution, Picture Peace, Juana Alicia, 2007, Published by Code Pink.

Triumph of Our Communities, Gary D. Keller et al, Bilingual Press/Editoria Bilingue, Tempe, Arizona, 2005.

Art, Women and California, “Other Landscapes”, Angela Y. Davis, 2000.

Imagine: International Chicano Poetry Journal, Volume 3, 1986, Imagine Publishers

The Murals of Revolutionary Nicaragua, 1979-1992, David Kunzle, Foreword by Miguel D’Escoto, University of California Press.

Feminist Geographies: Explorations in Diversity and Difference, Women and Geography Study Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers, Addison Wesley Limited, 1987

Yesterday and Tomorrow, California Women Artists, Edited by Sylvia Moore, Midmarch Press,


Cover Image, Signs from the Heart: California Chicano Murals, SPARC, The Social and Public Arts Resource Center. 1990

Paper Angels and Bitter Cane, Two Plays by Genny Lim, Kalamaku Press, 1991, cover artwork.

Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965-1985, Wight Art Gallery, UCLA, 1991

Barrio, George Ancona, 1995

Regeneration, Galeria de la Raza, Armando Rascon, Curator. February 1995

Homeless Not Helpless, An Anthology Edited by Barbara Paschke and David Volpendesta, 1991

Reconceptualizing the Peasantry: Anthropology in Global Perspective, by Michael Kearny, Westview Press, a division of Harper-Collins, 1996.

Border Matters: Remapping American Cultural Studies, by Jose David Saldivar, University of California Press, 1997, cover artwork.

Feminist Geographies: Explorations in Diversity and Difference, Women and Geography Study Group, Addison Wesley Longman Limited 1997, cover artwork.

San Francisco Murals, by Timothy W. Drescher, Pogo Press, 1998

Painting the Towns, by Jim Prigoff and Robin Dunnitz, RJD Enterprises, 1999, back cover image,

We Are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For, Women of Color Organizing, front cover, edited by Rinku Sen, U.S. Urban Rural Mission, 1999.


 2013-14 WEST OAKLAND YOUTH CENTER MURALS, a collaboration between Juana Alicia, True Colors Mural Project and the Trust Your Struggle Collective. Nine ceramic tile murals for the exterior of the youth center, located at Market and Brockhurst, Oakland, California. Juana Alicia, Cece Carpio, Robert Trujillo, Miguel “Bounce” Perez and Erin Yoshi ©2014, All Rights Reserved. A commission from the City of Oakland’s Public Arts Commission.

1. MAYAN SCRIBE, for Stanford murals, 45”x 65” approximately, digital print and acrylic paint on canvas Juana Alicia ©2012

2. NOPAL DE RESISTENCIA (ceiling), 9’ x 15’, digital print and acrylic paint on canvas, Juana Alicia ©2012

3. NOPAL DE RESISTENCIA , sketch, digital print and watercolor on paper, 43.5″ x 49″, Juana Alicia ©2012.

4. NOPAL DE RESISTENCIA , sketch , acrylic on canvas, 5’ 6″ x 5’6”, Juana Alicia ©2011.

5. CODEX ESTANFOR, watercolor and digital print, 18.5” x 125”, Juana Alicia ©2012.

a. GENESIS, detail of watercolor and digital print, 18.5” x 30.55”, Juana Alicia ©2012.

b. CONQUEST AND SLAVERY, watercolor and digital print, 18.5” x 22.4”, Juana Alicia ©2012.

c. RESISTANCE AND REVOLUTION, watercolor and digital print, 18.5” x 125”, Juana Alicia ©2012.

d. GEMELOS, watercolor and digital print, 18.5” x 31.76”, Juana Alicia ©2012.

e. EL FUTURO, watercolor and digital print, 18.5” x 29.9”, Juana Alicia ©2012.

2010    Posters of Resistance: Visions of Peace and Justice, with True Colors Students at Inkworks Press, West Berkeley, CA.

2009    MAESTRAPEACE INTERIOR EXTENSION, addition to Maestrapeace Murals on the San Francisco Women’s Building, acrylic on stucco and sheetrock, front entrance, ceiling and stairwell. Painted with Miranda Bergman and Susan Cervantes, San Francisco, CA.

VIVIR SIN FRONTERAS/LIVING WITHOUT BORDERS, True Colors Mural Program, student mural, acrylic on stucco, 18.5’ x 58’, Mi Tierra Foods Market, Berkeley, CA.

LA MUSICA Y EL MAR, portable acrylic mural on canvas , 7’ x 15’, for La Peña Cultural Center, collaboration with Tirso F. Gonzalez Araiza, Berkeley, CA.

2006-7 GEMELOS, mural in cast cement and steel, collaboration with Tirso F. Gonzalez Araiza, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana/ UTM (Metropolitan Technical University), Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico.

 ESAY MURAL, painted at La Escuela Superior de Arte de Yucatán, central entrance to restored train station, now arts university in Merida, Yucatán. Mural project sponsored through a Fulbright Garcia Robles Fellowship.

2006-7 In progress: HUEHUETLATOLLI, WISDOM OF THE ANCESTORS, mosaic tile mural for senior housing development, Satellite Housing Corporation, Berkeley, California.

2005    SANARTE: DIVERSITY’S PATHWAY Suite of four murals and the double helix and cementatious tile walkway celebrate and symbolize diversity within the concept of “unity”, and the notion that dualities promote a holistic, vibrant and ever-changing world. 1000 square feet of tile mosaic mural at UCSF Medical Center, 400 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco.

2004    LA LLORONA’S SACRED WATERS Acrylic mural on stucco, 30’ 60’. 24th and York Streets, San Francisco Mission District. Completed June 30, 2004

2001   LA VIRGEN DE LA LIBERTAD, ceramic handmade tile mural, 6’ x 9 feet, private   commission. Mural mounted on plywood and installed in garden.

ALL LIFE IS INTERRELATED, portable mural for Destiny Arts Center in Oakland, CA. Acrylic on canvas, 10’ x 15’.

2000    A WOMAN’S PLACE/EL LUGAR DE LA MUJER, acrylic mural on panels (installed), 54’ x 10’, at the United Electrical and Machine Workers Union Hall, Local 506, Erie, Pennsylvania. ©2000.

MAESTRAPEACE 2000, additions to the re-modeled Women’s Building, San     Francisco, CA. Additions to entryway at new cafe and childcare center, as well as above            the main front entrance.

1999    SANCTUARY/SANTUARIO, fresco painting and sculptures for San Francisco International Airport, with Emmanuel Catarino Montoya, 19’ x 23’. International Terminal G, Gate Room 99.

1998    THE BROKEN CORD / EL CORDON ROTO. Acrylic banner mural on canvas,            6′ x 18′, exhibited at Amnesty International’s Art and Human Rights Conference, and at       “No More Scapegoats”, at the San Francisco Unified School District.

1997    TU ERES MI OTRO YO: MARIN’S INTERDEPENDENCE. Acrylic mural on sheetrock, 14′ x 115′, for Whole Foods Market in San Rafael, CA.

1996   CROSS-POLLINATE, at Whole Foods Market in San Francisco. 6′ x 80′ acrylic on        sheetrock.

1995    POSITIVE VISIBILIITY, directed students and HIV positive women in mural at Haight and Scott Streets, San Francisco.

1994   MAESTRAPEACE, mural on the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Building, front (north) and side (east) facades, each 150′ x 60′. Acrylic on stucco. A collaboration with Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton, and Irene Perez. San Francisco Mission District, 18th Street @ Valencia

1992    LA PROMESA DE LOMA PRIETA: QUE NO SE REPITA LA HISTORIA (THE PROMISE OF LOMA PRIETA: THAT HISTORY NOT REPEAT ITSELF), at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Oakes College, Main Classroom and Administration Building. 21′ x 21′ acrylic interior mural, commissioned as part of a “Visiting Distinguished Professor” appointment, through a grant from the U.C.S.C. Alumni Association.

1991    REGENERATION/REGENERACIÓN, portable mural on panel, 12′ x 24”, exterior       mural on panels.Commissioned by MACLA (Movimiento de Arte y Cultura         Latinoamericana) for their newly-acquired cultural center on First Street, downtown San       Jose.

1990    THE SILENT LANGUAGE OF THE SOUL/EL LENGUAJE MUDO DEL    ALMA, exterior acrylic mural on the facade of the Cesar Chavez (formerly Hawthorne)             Elementary School, 32’ x 350’, Shotwell Street between 22nd and 23rd Streets, San             Francisco Mission District. Designed and painted in collaboration with Susan Cervantes.

MISSION STREET MANIFESTO/MANIFIESTO DE LA CALLE MISIÓN, acrylic mural on panels, 16’ x 25’, commissioned by 20th Century Fox for the movie, Class Action, with Gene Hackman. On long-term loan to San Francisco State University, installed in the Student Union Building.

1988    CEASE FIRE/ALTO AL FUEGO, Politec and Novacolor acrylic mural on cement wall, 9’ x 13′, Mission Street at 21st, San Francisco. Renovated in 2002.

CULTURA SIN FRONTERAS/CULTURE WITHOUT BORDERS, Politec and         Novacolor acrylic mural on stucco. Hispanic Cultural Center of Novato, 1530 South             Novato Boulevard. Juana Alicia with student artists Rosario Alcázar, Concha Marina           Aparicio, Julia Coyne Niles and Kiana Thompson.

PUENTE DE LA PAZ/BRIDGE OF PEACE, interior acrylic mural on sheetrock, World College West, Commons Building, 101 South San Antonio Road, Petaluma, Ca.

MUJERES DE FUEGO (WOMEN OF FIRE), Politec acrylic mural, Stanford    University, 9′ x 10′. Palo Alto, California. Mural painted with Stanford students in a workshop taught by the artist: “Mural Art: Enfoque Femenil” (Womanist Focus).

EARTH BOOK, Politec and Nova Color acrylic mural, 10′ 6″ x 16′, entrance to library, Skyline College, San Bruno, California. Student Apprentices: Barry McGee and Sia Yang.

NEW WORLD TREE OF LIFE, 69′ x 25′ acrylic Politec and Nova Color mural at the Mission Pool, 19th and Linda Streets, San Francisco, California. Designed and executed in collaboration with Susan Cervantes and Raul Martínez.

1986    EL AMANECER, a collective mural project with Miranda Bergman, Hector Noel Méndez, Ariella Seidenberg and Arch Williams. 700 square foot acrylic mural on the facade of ANDEN (Asociacíon Nacional de Educadores de Nicaragua-National Teachers Association of Nicaragua), in El Parque de las Madres, Managua, Nicaragua.

A LETTER TO THE FUTURE/UNA CARTA A FUTURO, mural project at San Francisco’s Good Samaritan Community Center. Directed student project as California Arts Council Artist in Residence at La Raza Graphics. Politec paint, 150 square foot interior. Destroyed after 1989 earthquake.

1985    FOR THE ROSES/PARA LAS ROSAS, San Francisco Mime Troupe Building mural, solo project. 930 square foot Politec acrylic mural, at 855 Treat Street, Mission District, San Francisco.

TE OÍMOS GUATEMALA (WE HEAR YOU, GUATEMALA), 80 square foot Politec acrylic mural for PLACA Mural Collective in solidarity with the people of Central America. Balmy Alley, San Francisco Mission District. A solo project designed in harmony with thirty other murals in a block-long community arts environment. (Replaced by Una Ley Inmoral…”)

BALANCE OF POWER, a collective mural project with Susan Cervantes, Raul Martínez, Emmanuel Catarino Montoya, and nine students. A community youth education project, through San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks Department and Mayor’s Youth            Fund. 2,210 square foot Politec acrylic mural.

1983    UNA NOCHE EN VERACRUZ (A NIGHT IN VERACRUZ) and                               LA OAXAQUEÑA, two Politec acrylic murals, 120 and 70 square feet, respectively. At Pablo’s Restaurant, 4166 24th Street, San Francisco (destroyed).

1983    LAS LECHUGUERAS (THE WOMEN LETTTUCE WORKERS) 1500 square foot Politec acrylic mural, at York and 24th Streets, San Francisco Mission District. A commission from the Mayor’s Office of Community Development and the San     Francisco Arts Commission.

A VIEW OF 20TH CENTURY U.S. HISTORY/UNA VISTA DE LA HISTORIA DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS EN EL SIGLO 20. Directed student mural at Watsonville High School. 420 square foot Politec mural. Watsonville, California. Destroyed in the 1989 earthquake.

1982    BIRTH MURAL design awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Award for Best Visual Art Work with a Chicano/Mexicano Theme, through the University of California, Santa Cruz. Series of seven life-size panels on the theme of childbirth, pastel and collage on paper.



Mother’s Day/El día de las madres, illustrated by Juana Alicia, written by Ana Matiella, published by the Children’s Museum of Boston and Modern Curriculum Press

Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Take on the Global Factory, Miriam Ching Louie, South End Press, 2001, cover artwork.

Women’s Lives: Multicultural Perspectives, Second Edition, by Gwyn Kirk and Margo Okazawa-Rey, 2001, Mayfield Publishing, 2001, front cover image.

“Other Landscapes”, Angela Y. Davis, fromArt/Women/California, Parallels and Intersections: 1950-2000, 2002

Migratory Birds: New and Noted Poems, an upcoming collection of poetry by Odilia Galvan Rodriguez, Prickly Pear Publishing, Oakland, CA, 2002.

Arte y Minoriías en los Estados Unidos: el ejemplo chicano, Jose de la Nuez Santana, Edita: Instituto Universitario <<Agustín Millares>> de Documentación y Gestión de la Información (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), 2001



2013  AN ILLUSTRATED POPOL VUH, Abercrombie Gallery, McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA

2012 DOMESTIC DISOBEDIENCE, San Diego Mesa College, CA

2011 MAN AS OBJECT: REVERSING THE GAZE, Women’s Caucus for the Arts, SOMAR Gallery, San Francisco, Catalogue.

2007   INTERACTIVE BIENNIAL, Galeria Peon Contreras, Mérida, Yucatán, Raul Ferrera Balanquet, Curator, Catalogue.

2006   ENCANTADA GALLERY, one-woman show, San Francisco, CA

2005    CHICANA/O BIENNIAL, MACLA Center for Latino Arts, San Jose, CA

VANDALS, Thacher Gallery, University of San Francisco.


ART: THE OTHER VOICE OF AMERICA, SOMARTS Cultural Center, San Francisco.

2004     XIHUAT: MUJER/CREATION, La Raza Galeria Posada, Sacramento, CA

2004     CORAZONES Y ALMAS, La Raza Galeria Posada, Sacramento, CA

2003    25 YEARS OF HEART AND STRUGGLE, Retrospective Show of Artists from the Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA.

2000    JUANA ALICIA: PRESENCIA MONUMENTAL, Coyote Gallery, Butte College, Oroville, CA.

MAESTRAPEACE, The Euphrat Museum, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA.

HECHO EN CALIFAS: THE LAST DECADE, curated by Richard Lou, touring     California cultural centers and museums. ‘98-01

EL PAPEL DEL PAPEL, THE ROLE OF PAPER, AFFIRMATION AND IDENTITY       IN CHICANO AND BORICUA ART, an international touring              exhibit presented by the Guadalupe Art Center of San Antonio, Texas.

1997    FROM WITHIN: AN EXHIBITION ABOUT MOTHERHOOD AND THE  CREATIVE PROCESS, Works Gallery, San Jose, CA. Curated by Mel                       Adamson. Catalog.

1995    10 X 10: TEN WOMEN, TEN PRINTS, The Berkeley Art Center,    Berkeley, CA.

1994    TRES CARAS/THREE FACES, The Red Mesa Gallery, Gallup, New Mexico.


THE FOURTH R: ART AND THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN, The Euphrat             Gallery, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA.

1991    WOMEN WITH ATTITUDE/MUJERES CON GARBO, at La Raza Graphics Center, San Francisco.

WAR•PEACE•ART, organized by the Mexican Museum of San Francisco, international exhibition schedule.


LAS FRONTERAS: SUENOS, COMADRES Y MANOS, Channing Peake            Gallery, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.

CHICANOS, Moss Gallery, San Francisco.

1990    BODY/CULTURE: CHICANO FIGURATION, organized by the University Art     Gallery, Sonoma State University, national exhibition schedule,                    October 1990 through February, 1992, catalogue.

CHICANO ART:RESISTANCE AND AFFIRMATION (CARA) 1965-1985, Wight Art    Gallery, U.C.L.A., national and international tour, 1990-1994,             catalogue.



DIA DE LOS MUERTOS EXHIBITION, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago,

LA MUJER EN LA RAZA, Museo de la Estampa, Mexico City, group exhibit, catalogue.

1988    VISIONES CONTEMPORANEAS., Santa Rosa City Council Chambers,   Santa Rosa,      CA.

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS EXHIBITION, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago,     Illinois, group exhibit.

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS EXHIBITION, The Alternative Museum, New York, New           York group exhibit.

1987    LATINA ART: SHOWCASE “87,   Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago, Illinois. Group show. Artist’s work used for cover of catalogue,                         posters, cards. Curator: Juana Guzman.

MEXICAN – AMERICAN SHOW, Loteriá Nacional, Mexico City, Mexico. Group show    sponsored by Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (National                 Institute of Fine Arts). Catalogue.

1986    SHE , group exhibition on the theme of women and water, Berkeley Art Center.        Michael Bell, curator.

CONTENT: CONTEMPORARY ISSUES, Euphrat Gallery. De Anza College,       Cupertino, Jan Rindfleisch, curator. Catalogue

1985    WOMEN X WOMEN, group exhibit at La Galería de la Raza, San Francisco,CA.



2008-2014    Berkeley City College, Full-time Instructor, Visual Art. Director, True Colors Mural Project, Public Art Program.

2006-2007    Escuela Superior de Arte de Yucatán (ESAY), Visiting Professor in Mural Arts/Painting, Fulbright Fellowship.

2005                Lecturer for SPEAK OUT-Institute for Democratic Education and Culture. “SPEAK OUT!- works with 200 speakers and artists who                                           represent the breadth of social movements as well as critically-acclaimed exhibits and films which inform and empower young people to                             take action for positive social change.”

2004                Oxbow School, Napa California. Artist in Residence, Summer Program: “Serious Art, Serious Fun”

2002-2003    University of California, Davis, Chicano Studies, Visiting Lecturer:“Introduction to Chicano Studies.”

2002-2004     San Francisco State University: “ Raza Art History” and “Women as Creative Agents” (College of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies)

2001-2002     University of California, Davis, Chicano Studies, Visiting Lecturer: “Chicanas, Politics and Public Policy” and “Political Economy of                                            Chicano/Latina Communities”

San Francisco State University, College of Ethnic Studies and Department of Women’s Studies, Visiting Lecturer:“Raza Art History”, “Raza                               Oral History and Tradition” and “Woman as Creative Agent”

California State University at Hayward, supervisor for student teachers. Berkely Arts Magnet, visual art teacher. Public speaker for Speak                                   Out, a progressive speaker’s bureau. Richmond Art Center, Art 10 Program, Richmond, CA,

2000              Stanford University, Visiting Professor, Department of Spanish and                                      Portuguese: Chicana/Xicano Muralism.

1995-1999    Co-Founder and Co-Director, The East Bay Institute for Urban                                                         Arts, Oakland, CA.

1994-1995    Atelierista (resident art teacher) at the San Francisco Charter Early Childhood School.

1990-1995    Core faculty, New College of California, graduate and undergraduate Visual Arts Coordinator of undergraduate Interdisciplinary Art and                                    Social Change Program.

1992                  Distinguished Visiting Professor, Oakes College, University of  California, Santa Cruz.

New College of California, Core Faculty in Drawing and Visual Arts Program Coordinator.

1990-19993    California College of Arts and Crafts, classes in drawing, Latin American history and mural painting.

1990-95           New College of California, classes in drawing and Latin American art history. Coordinator of Visual Arts Program.

1990                San Francisco Art Institute, Watercolor, spring extension program.

1989                San Francisco Art Institute, Watercolor, summer extension program.

1989                California Arts Council, Artist in Residence, Artist in Schools Grant for Hawthorne Elementary School, San Francisco.

1987                California Arts Council, Artist in Communities Grant for 1987-88, at the Hispanic Cultural Center of Novato and World College West.

1985                Artist in Residence at La Raza Graphics for one year, in various student mural projects, both at the La Raza site and at                                                                      Good Samaritan Community Center.

1985                Directed student mural project at the Mission Pool and Playground. 19th and Linda Streets, San Francisco. Worked in collaboration with                                   aforementioned colleagues.

1984                Directed high school student mural project through the State Department of Migrant Education’s Yo Puedo Program at                                                                      Stanford University: Assisted students in design and execution of mural at Stanford’s Chicano Centro.

Artist in Residence at Potter Valley School. Potter Valley,  California, directing mural project with forty elementary school                                                               students. Painted 1,000 square foot Politec mural on exterior wall of school.

1981                Taught art to elementary and secondary level migrant students in a two-year program designed and administered by the artist                                                       (funded through the State Office of Migrant Education) in Pájaro, California, featuring workshops in ceramics, drawing, design                                                    and mural painting.

1985                Artist in Residence at La Raza Graphics for one year, in various student mural projects, both at the La Raza site and at Good Samaritan                                      Community Center.

1985                Directed student mural project at the Mission Pool and Playground. 19th and Linda Streets, San Francisco. Worked in collaboration with                                  aforementioned colleagues.

1984                Directed high school student mural project through the State Department of Migrant Education’s Yo Puedo Program at Stanford University:                              Assisted students in design and execution of mural at Stanford’s Chicano Centro.

Artist in Residence at Potter Valley School. Potter Valley,  California, directing mural project with forty elementary school                                                               students. Painted 1,000 square foot Politec mural on exterior wall of school.

1981                Taught art to elementary and secondary level migrant students  in a two-year program designed and administered by the artist                                                        (funded through the State Office of Migrant Education) in Pájaro,  California, featuring workshops in ceramics, drawing, design and mural                              painting.





Remembering the Mission: A Reflection

September 20, 2007
Remembering the Mission

Juana Alicia in front of Las Lechugueras Mural, photo by Tim Drescher

Sitting in a café in downtown Mérida, remembering the Mission, I long for it. Here in the land of jaguars, hipiles and outrageously expensive cell phone costs, the globalization of Latinoamerica that we have fought in our struggles of the last several decades rears its ugly head in unavoidable contrasts and contradictions. I am living here on a Fulbright grant, a cultural emissary from 24th Street and York, representing the Chicana/o mural movement and a social history that is unknown to most in these parts. The sleepy tropical air is heavy with scent of limonaria flowers, and the suffering of the jornaleros waiting for work on Cesar Chavez Blvd. is distant rumor here, where the Panista, the right wing party, politics of repression work with the Catholic Church to perpetuate the myth that “aquí no pasa nada”.

But we who haunt the streets and hiring halls of el norte know better. And so do the Mayan people of the pueblos, who struggle to maintain their fast-disappearing language, culture and property, as international real estate and maquiladoras threaten to gobble up what has been chipped away at for years. The howl of a hurricane blows through the Mayan pueblos, sending the male population north to seek its fortune and leave the social structure like a dust bowl. North American dolares come home to lose strength as pesos, to pay for casas de bloque, replacing palm roofs with cement beams and stones, buying wide screen T.V.’s and indoor plumbing. Children grow up barely knowing their fathers, but a material prosperity supplants the pre-NAFTA familia. Scenes for a new mural?

Since I first arrived in the Mission from Salinas in the 1970’s, I have felt at home. Having grown up in center-city Motown, I teethed on Aretha Franklin and Last Poet records and learned to draw while cutting class to hang out at the Rivera murals at the Detroit Art Institute. As a young recruit to the United Farm Worker Movement, I made posters to boycott grapes and A&P, and got pulled into field organizing when I met Cesar Chavez on one of his many national tours. A train trip across Canada and hitchhike down the coast took me to Salinas, where I came of age in the lettuce fields and the strikes of 1973 and 1976.

I made my permanent move to San Francisco in the early 1980’s, after teaching and making murals with migrant students in Salinas and Watsonville for several years. My first San Francisco mural was Las Lechugueras (The Women Lettuce Workers) an autobiographical and piece about the lettuce machines, pesticides and la migra (the INS). Each of the subsequent twenty or thirty murals that have poured out of me since then have been a mix of personal story, community history and testimony to the moment in which they were created. I am indebted to the people and cultural institutions of the Mission that have given me the space to develop a voice to narrate the scenes I have witnessed, and that I have imagined, both as an individual and as a member of various collectives.

As I sit here in Mérida, where all cultural institutions with any funding or success are run by the government, and artists are subject to the political whims of the current sexenio (six year term), suddenly the non-profits and grass-roots institutions that have suckled several generations of artists, appear utopian. La Galería de la Raza and Studio 24, the Mission Cultural Center, Artists TV Access, the ghost of La Raza Graphics, and many others, although fraught with their contradictions, seem like models for many communities.  The rapid gentrification of the Mission threatens to wipe out the vibrant culture that still oozes from all of its overcrowded apartments and thumps beats from open windows and passing rides.

I feel that I was born as an artist on 24th Street, selling my work at the 24th Street Fair, showing my work at the Galería de la Raza, painting there as performance at René Yañez’s invitations, experiencing the street side courtship that would lead to marriage and family with Emmanuel C. Montoya. While I painted the Lechugueras mural and Emmanuel painted the Mini Park in 1983, we began an artistic relationship that would create prints and paintings and home and community and familia. Although the marriage ended in 2001, we had a long and fulfilling run as a collaboration that derived much of its juice from the Mission. In turn, we loved it back.

Swaying to the beats of low-rides, boom boxes, bars and street festivals, I’ve walked through the neighborhood for decades, feeling like it’s a my home, an epicenter. Every time I emerge from the guts of the 24th Street BART Station, with its tamale vendors, sidewalk musicians, drunks, junkies, bible thumpers, yuppies on their way to Noe Valley or their new Mission condos, and political organizers, I feel reborn, like I have arrived. It’s the same way I feel in the Zócalo in Mexcio City, where 500 years of history are on decade-by-decade display. I am mesmerized and absorbed, and could draw there for days at a time.

And my relationship with the Mission continues, like a never-ending love affair. Of the thirty-four murals I have painted to date, the greatest concentration of my work is in the Mission District. Some have been destroyed, others replaced, others restored, but I consider the Mission to be the holy ground on which I have been able to live and thrive as a painter and as an activist. Some of these works are individual efforts and many are collective. They include:  Las Lechugueras (1983); Para las Rosas (1985); Te Oimos Guatemala (1985); A Letter to the Future (1986) ; Balance of Power (1985); Alto al Fuego(1987); New World Tree(1988);  Silent Language of the Soul; four student murals at Cesar Chavez Elementary School; Si Se Puede; MaestraPeace(1995 and 2000); Una Ley Injusta(Homenage a Oscar Romero, 1992) and La Llorona’s Sacred Waters (2004).

The Silent Language of the Soul/El Lenguage Mudo del Alma, Juana Alicia and  Susan K.Cervantes. ©1990.
Photo: Tim Drescher

We were evicted from our apartment on Hampshire Street in the mid 1980’s, and continued to camp out in the Lower Haight until rents drove us across the Bay in the mid 1990’s. I still insist that I’m in economic exile from the Mission, dreaming of moving back like an immigrant in a foreign land, always longing to return home. The neighborhood is not the same as when I painted the Mime Troupe Mural, For the Roses/Para las Rosas, in 1985. Working half time in a flag factory, I shared my sweat shop position with my homeboy Herbert Siguenza, visual artist, actor and dramaturg of Culture Clash. That same year, we both painted murals on Balmy Alley as part of the eclectic PLACA Collective.

“Para las Rosas/For the Rosas”, Juana Alicia ©1985,
photo by Michael Bry.

Balmy Alley, the site of the PLACA Murals, was also the birthplace of Chicano murals in the Mission during the 1970’s, when Ray Patlán and the Mujeres Muralistas first began to claim the walls of garages and fences in the thin artery between 24th and 25th Streets. The artistic revival that was the PLACA “collective” birthed a series of thirty murals by more than forty artists. WildMy own mural, Te Oimos Guatemala was the first of two I would paint on the same spot. Te Oimos Guatemala was inspired by the movie, “When the Mountains Tremble”; in particular the scene of mourning in a small village after the massacre of most of its male population. A blood-chilling howl emanates from the women of the town, seen kneeling and crying implacably by the bodies of their sons, brothers, companions. That scene provoked the image of retablo   style mural: a Guatemalan woman in traditional clothing, kneeling and crying over the body of her beloved deceased, with the roof-tops of the Mission in the background, and a ribbon floating above them with the words, Te Oimos Guatemala /We Hear You Guatemala.

Balmy Alley, the diverse streetscape that critiqued U.S. aggression in Central America was filmed in a video, and sent to the then-Minister of Culture of Nicaragua, poet Ernesto Cardenal. I was part of that rowdy and wildly differing collective of painters, all opposed to U.S. intervention, and the revolutionary government of Nicaragua requested that we create similar murals in solidarity in that gorgeous and hopeful land. The following year, four members  of the PLACA Collective took off for Managua to create a monumental work for the Casa ANDEN, headquarters of the national teachers’ union, located in El Parque de las Madres. Our homies from the Mission community held benefit dances and auctions at The Farm to raise the funds for our paint and airfares. The Mission launched us on an incredible journey that would contrast the petty internal turf wars of our own community with the far more tragic and massively violent Contra War on the Nicaraguan Revolution. But in some ways, the experience of painting El Amanecer in the center of Managua also illustrated to me that we live in a war zone in the Mission, connected by gangs, police violence, immigration, the AIDS epidemic and economic injustice to the millions  of our southern cousins in Mexico and Central America.

On this journey, one of the most moving experiences of my life, I was privileged to participate in the second line of defense of the Nicaraguan Revolution: international solidarity. For three very intense weeks, we labored in collaboration with the National Teacher’s Union, the National School of Muralism and the merciless heat to create a mural celebrating the role of the teacher in social revolution. Entitled “El Amanecer”, the mural is one of a very few that has survived to date the assaults of subsequent right wing governments and their grey paint. The mural is documented in the book, Murals of the Nicaraguan Revolution . I’ll never forget the all-nighter Miranda Bergman and I pulled, guarded by two teenage lesbians, all of us armed with machine guns, working in spite of the threat of a U.S.-backed Contra attack. We were given a short course in the fundamentals of those weapons in case their use became necessary in the event of a gringo invasion. Living and working in revolutionary Nicaragua was also one of my greatest lessons in gender equality. This was a society where no one messed with you, knowing you were very possibly armed. I had never felt so safe and respected as a woman, able to walk down the street at any, hour day or night, without being harassed. Clusters of men on the street in front of a bar at midnight never ventured more than a polite, “buenas noches, compañera.” As my girlfriend Chilo Quiroz Barrios once said to me, after the fall of the Sandinistas, “La revolución fue la única cosa que se preocupaba por la mujer”.

EL AMANECER, a collective mural project with Miranda Bergman, Hector Noel Méndez, Ariella Seidenberg and Arch Williams. 700 square foot acrylic mural on the facade of ANDEN (Asociacíon Nacional de Educadores de Nicaragua-National Teachers Association of Nicaragua), in El Parque de las Madres, Managua, Nicaragua. Photo: Juana Alicia

The mural we created in 1986 for the National Teachers’ Union was much more than an aesthetic contribution: it was a deep expression of love and appreciation on both sides of the international exchange. The Nicaraguans that hosted us treated us like familia, and our experience reflected the saying we cited in our mural, “La solidaridad es la ternura de los pueblos” (Solidarity is the tenderness between peoples/nations). It was incredibly moving to create a work of art for a society struggling to create a sovereign alternative to capitalist imperialism and fight a war at the same time. We observed first hand the fate of teachers who went into the war zones to implement a curriculum of cultural, ethnic and political equality: ambush, rape and death. We saw many young people wounded in war. We were witnesses to the toll of alcoholism on a nation that lost one third of its population to the violence wrought by our own government. Returning to the Mission in the fall of 1986, I was a changed person.

For many months I turned to portraiture of the people I was close to, having been shaken by the presence and impermanence of the war zone I had visited. In the spring of 1987, David Solnit, an activist for Central American solidarity, for a poster design. David was organizing events at the Concord Naval Weapons Station to protest U.S. shipments of weapons to the wars in Central America. I created a red, black and white illustration of guns pointed at a Nicaraguan child with his book bag, standing in front of the mural we had painted. Two large hands in the foreground of the image hold the guns away from the child. On September 1, 1987, at the Concord Naval Weapons Station demonstrations, a munitions train would run over one of the protestors, a decorated Vietnam veteran named Brian Willson. He lost both of his legs in that disaster and became a symbol of struggle for the international peace movement. This tragedy, combined with the U.S. invasion of Honduras that same year, angered me and inspired the mural “Cease Fire/Alto al Fuego” at the corner of Mission and 21st Streets. The communities of both the Mission and World College West, where I taught, came together for a fundraiser at a gallery, with music by Enrique Ramirez and poetic offerings by my compadres Juan Felipe Herrera and Margarita Luna Robles. We auctioned off my original drawing and one of my students won it. The party provided the funding for scaffolding and paint, Nidal of the Café Nidal provided the wall and the people waiting for the bus at that corner provided the moral support for creating that piece. As I was finishing it, the antiwar community organized marches down Mission Street to protest the ongoing invasion of Honduras, and the mural became part of that street theater. The mural that I had thought of a pure protest endured untouched for many years. In 2002, when it had begun to peel and get small tags, I decided to restore it. I repainted most of the piece, this time a little darker, in more chiaroscuro tones, given the ongoing nature of its theme. The wars in Central America had ended, but the U.S. government continued and continues to wage war in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. Unfortunately, it is a piece whose time has come and gone and come again.

The Mission Pool and   Playground at 19th and Linda Streets has been a gathering place for the neighborhood since the 1930’s, when it was called the Nickel Pool, dubbed for its entrance price. Heavily graffitied in the 1980’s, it received a recreation center addition under the auspices of then-mayor Diane Feinstein. On the day of its inauguration, a neighborhood organizer got her on tape, promising to fund murals for the neighborhood if it respected the walls and desisted from covering them with graffiti. . In 1985 I collaborated with Emmanuel C. Montoya, Susan K. Cervantes, several other artists, community organizers and two rival neighborhood gangs, Happy Homes and 19th Street, to create the mural on the Linda Street façade. In 1988, I also collaborated with Susan K. Cervantes and Raul Martinez to paint the mural on the 19th Street façade of the Mission Swimming Pool. When we approached the City’s Park and Rec Department to sponsor and fund the 19th Street mural, they stipulated that they wanted a pastoral image, devoid of the multitudes of human figures depicted in the previous mural. We designed the “New World Tree” piece in the form of a traditional Mexican ceramic tree of life, full of birds and animals, Adam and Eve and their children. In the center of the composition, the jade eye of Tlaloc, the Aztec rain god, radiates light across the entire surface of the work. In the background, and surrounding the tree, the San Francisco Bay is pictured, with native wildlife and human inhabitants at peace in their environment. Our intent was to create a peaceful outdoor temple for the park, the street. The Aztec symbol for the heart is painted on the door to the swimming pool. New World Tree is an ode to connection of all human bloodlines, to water as the source of all life and to the natural beauty of the Bay Area. I remember listening to the Iran-Contra hearings in the U.S. Congress as I stood on the scaffolding, painting, appalled at the ongoing violence in Central America and the secret government that had been created to support the trading of guns for drugs. The distance between the Mission Swimming Pool and the ¡Cease Fire! piece is two blocks, the distance between utopian vision and war zone.

NEW WORLD TREE OF LIFE, 69′ x 25′ acrylic Politec and Nova Color mural at the Mission Pool, 19th and Linda Streets, San Francisco, California. Designed and executed in collaboration with Susan Cervantes and Raul Martínez. Photo: Tim Drescher

In 1989, I lost my brother to the AIDS epidemic. An artist, teacher, dancer and writer, Daniel Roberto Barela was one of thousands of casualties in our community, in San Francisco. The Mission lost many talented and brilliant souls to this plague, another sort of war zone. Among them were dramaturges and directors, including Rodrigo Reyes and Hank Tavera, whose artistic legacy and sexual honesty set the stage for the current waves of gay and lesbian theater artists in the Mission community. On a personal level, this era was marked by a sort of frenzied production, which was a response of both mourning and rebirth. Sometimes we are moved to greater heights of creativity when our world seems most threatened to collapse. I did two murals outside of San Francisco, in San Jose and Santa Cruz, before the birth of my daughter Mayahuel in 1993. Three months after her birth, I found myself on the scaffolding of the San Francisco Women’s Building in the company of six other remarkable women, and over one hundred volunteers, in the process of creating the monumental work of MaestraPeace. Described as a “standing ovation to women’s liberation” by sister muralist, Miranda Bergman, the five-story work took us eighteen months to complete, and became a testament to collaboration between women, as well as a visual history of women artists, organizers, scientists, deities and unsung heroines. I continue to feel that this work of public art was the most fulfilling experience of its kind in my lifetime. The dream of projecting positive, life-affirming, powerful and revolutionary images of women for the sake of the Mission community, on an undeniably significant scale was vindicating in so many ways that I never could have predicted. It is a kind of “knocks-you-out” piece where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. MaestraPeace is the true fulfillment of a mural for me: that the skin of the architecture reflects the soul of its function. I am eternally grateful to the organization, my collaborators, the volunteer and passersby who gave me the opportunity to feel this power.

One of the greatest ironies after the completion of the MaestraPeace project was the fact that I could no longer afford to live in San Francisco. I had raised my son there until the late 1980’s, but by the time my daughter was born, gentrification and the boom had impacted the economy to such a degree that I could no longer afford to pay my rent or other expenses at City prices. I moved to Berkeley in 1995 but continued my long-distance love affair with the Mission, restoring the ¡Cease Fire! and MaestraPeace murals and painting a new piece at the same site as my first mural, Las Lechugueras. The original piece had deteriorated to the extent that it was not restorable. In order to return it to its original state, I would have to remove it from the wall and repaint it from scratch. Instead, in spite of the protests of some, I decided to create a new work for that wall. The new work, entitled La Llorona’s Sacred Waters, is the daughter of the first mural, and address the themes of women’s labor and environmental justice in a new way.

MAESTRAPEACE, mural on the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Building, front (north) and side (east) facades, each 150′ x 60′. Acrylic on stucco. Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton, and Irene Perez. San Francisco Mission District, 18th Street @ Valencia ©1994

1994   MAESTRAPEACE, mural on the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Building, front (north) and side (east) facades, each 150′ x 60′. Acrylic on stucco. A collaboration with Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton, and Irene Perez. San Francisco Mission District, 18th Street @ Valencia

In 2001, I taught a class at U.C. Davis, entitled “Latinas, Politics and Public Policy”, and many of the projects, discussions and research that arose while designing and teaching that class led me to issues of water. La Llorona, the seminal Medea myth of Mexican women, wherein the bereft indigenous mother of mixed-race children drowns them in sorrow, insanity and revenge when jilted by their father for a Spanish noblewoman. As Latina feminists have reclaimed her and removed her blame-the-victim status, replacing it with a critical analysis of conquest and patriarchy, I wanted to do the same in making her the protagonist of my mural. The painting is a large waterscape, composed of rivers, ocean waves, cascades, lakes and marshes. Composed in blue, red, grey and black, it is my Guernica, a somber message regarding the urgency of our environmental, economic and gender crises that threaten to destroy the world at the hands of greed and violence. Not water or fire, but greed and abuse of power are the sources of our undoing. The mural focuses on four sites of environmental, labor and immigration struggles: the Narmada River in India, Cochabamba, Bolivia, Mexico City and the U.S. Mexican border. It stood as the eerie predictor of the tsunami floods of 2004, and its significance unfolds within the ever-growing contexts of environmental devastation involving water. It was on this same corner that a new partnership and love came into my life, in the form of an old friend, a comrade in the struggles for art in the streets and on the shirts of everyone from the Mission to Managua. Tirso Gonzalez aka Araiza, painter, sculptor and master of silk screen of Mission Gráfica fame, helped me prepare the wall at 24th and York Streets again, this time to receive La Llorona, and my life turned that same corner in a new sense.

LA LLORONA’S SACRED WATERS Acrylic mural on stucco, 30’ 60’. 24th and York Streets, San Francisco Mission District, Juana Alicia ©2004

Three years later, we have collaborated on a life together, in the Bay Area and in Mérida, Yucatán, and have just completed a one and a half-ton bas relief sculptural mural is cement and steel, for the Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana (the Metropolitan Technical University) in that beautiful, ancient city. My work took a new turn as I learned to become a sculptor under the brilliant, scorching skies of the Yucatecan rain forest.

GEMELOS, mural in cast cement and steel, Juana Alicia and Tirso F. Gonzalez Araiza, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana/ UTM (Metropolitan Technical University), Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, ©2007.

Over the last three decades I have developed as a muralist, and as a person, fed by a community that loves, ignores, disdains and nourishes me. I learned how to be a public artist through my work within it, to flee its internal struggles for international challenges, to return with new perspectives, and to use those lessons to create new works in many other places. But I am always drawn back to the Mission, to the streets that hold the best of my secrets, desires and memories, a cultural birthplace that has allowed me to paint my life’s story, and the collective stories of our community.

Detail of Lechugueras Mural photo by Martha Edwards

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