Discovering these murals down a tiny alley off 24th St completely blew me away. I’ve probably walked by this alley a dozen times before and had no idea the color, imagery and heart that was waiting for me just out of the corner of my eye! I owe Edible Excursions a big thanks — who knows how long it would have taken me to find this place if I wasn’t led directly there on their Mission district 24th St tour. Even though I live in the Mission now there’s still so much of this rich and large neighborhood I haven’t explored yet; finding these murals alone made the tour worth it (not to mention some roasted butternut squash & goat cheese tamales that will forever change how I will think about tamales). As it was described to me by the mural docent guiding us — the collection began about 30+ years ago by local female community leaders and artists as an outlet for those outside of the mainstream SF art scene at the time (i.e. women and young people of Hispanic roots) and is still going strong today. As such, many of the murals focus on a history of displacement and marginalization, with a big focus on the issue of gentrification. As I walked through the alley I was overwhelmed by the raw emotion of all the stories before me — ranging from ironically humorous to heart-wrenchingly sad.
Yet another example to pay more attention — to take new turns in old neighborhoods whenever possible. Balmy Alley has no set hours, but is a residential street with locals living behind each mural, so keep that in mind when visiting, and if you can I highly recommend taking a guided tour.
Has anyone else out there discovered or knew about Balmy Alley? What was your impression of the murals? Let me know in the comments, and until next time find me on pinterest, twitter, instagram, and facebook. Thank you for reading and Ciao!