City College of San Francisco Art Guide


Detail from Diego Rivera Mural

Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on this Continent (Pan-American Unity)

Diego Rivera, 1886-1957
1940, fresco
22' x 75'
Diego Rivera Theater

This is Rivera's last work in the U.S., the largest and most ambitious of his three murals in San Francisco and commissioned specifically for the CCSF campus. Painted in the fresco technique, whereby paint is applied to wet plaster, the mural was completed in approximately six months at "Art in Action." Spanning the 15th to the 20th century, it describes the evolution of artistic and cultural traditions of Central and North America. Set against a backdrop of the Bay Area, the mural includes portraits of contemporary and historical figures in the arts, politics, and science. (Panel shown is one of five.)

Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, Rivera studied art at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City and spent fourteen years in Europe. In the U.S., Rivera painted a major work at the Detroit Institute of Arts and has three other works in the Bay Area. In addition to the City College mural, his works include the "Allegory of California" at the Pacific Stock Exchange building (1930), "Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City" at San Francisco Art Institute (1931), and "Mrs. Stern's Dream," now at Stern Hall at UC Berkeley (1931).

Visit the Diego Rivera Mural Project Website to see and learn more about the CCSF Mural.

Detail of Olmsted Mural

Theory and Science

Frederick Olmsted, 1911-1990
1941, tempera on plaster
12' x 9' at widest point
West entrance stairs, Science Hall

Two murals depict students engaged in scientific research. Muted earth tones and small brush strokes represent a range of endeavors in the sciences, such as viewing bacteria through a microscope, conducting field research, and excavating dinosaur remains. A restoration was completed in 2002 by CCSF faculty, staff, students, and an independent conservator, bringing these images close to their original state. (Detail shown.)

Olmsted was the grandson of Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect of New York's Central Park. He was born in San Francisco, attended Stanford and was a student of Ralph Stackpole's at the San Francisco Art Institute where he later taught. Olmsted was a painter, sculptor and later, an architect. He exhibited at the opening of the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1935, painted the fresco "Power" at Coit Tower, and painted a window archway called "Pottery" in the Anne Bremer Memorial Library at SFAI.

Detail from Song of the Spirit Mural

Song of the Spirit

Associated Students and Precita Eyes Mural Arts
1999, acrylic on concrete
11' x 88'
North wall, Student Union

Vibrant color depicts stories and symbols from many cultures in this mural (detail shown here). It celebrates diversity of age, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and physical ability. Completely student designed, the two-year project was directed by Susan Cervantes of Precita Eyes Mural Arts of San Francisco. The mural was conceived as a protest to California's Proposition 209, which inhibits people of color and other underrepresented groups from being admitted to colleges and universities in the state.

Created by Lisa Velarde as the final project of Debbie Faires' Libr 240 class, Information Technology and Tools, School of Library and Information Science, San Jose State University.

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