Project Description

gpmural
mural
Marina and Bianca
UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_f738

Meet the Burnside Mural+

Burnside Mural+ is a resident-led initiative to create a visual representation of the colorful history of Glen Park that will include both a large mural and a tiled stairway.  The location connects both to the Glen Park Greenway and San Francisco’s Crosstown Trial.  It is where walkers, many of whom are heading to Glen Canyon, can take a moment to treat their eyes to the history of Glen Park.

 

The wall and tiled stairway will depict stories of the neighborhood, from the days when the canyon was home to a dynamite factory (it blew up!) and even had a popular zoo and amusement park with a bear pit, seal pond, and acrobatic aeronauts. The tiled stairway will highlight Islais Creek, which runs from the canyon and under the Burnside Mural+ wall, once a likely a hunting grounds for the Bay Area’s Native Americans, the Ramaytush Ohlone.

 

Had it not been for the political activism in the 1960s of local women, including one whose house nestles aside the wall, this area would have been turned into rubble to become a freeway.  Known as the “Gum Tree Girls,” the project will recognize these activists whose accomplishments are now enjoyed by thousands of picnickers, casual walkers, and serious hikers from San Francisco and beyond.

 

The idea of the mural and tile project was first presented in December 2020 to the Glen Park Association and is enjoying widespread interest and support.  It will evolve over two phases, the first for the mural and the second will be tiling the zigzag 69-step stairway rising above it.

 

Burnside Mural Project Narrative by Twin Walls Mural Company

Glen Park has a beautiful, rich and diverse history that is shaped by the people that call it home, its geography and Islais Creek that runs through it. We wanted the mural to celebrate the history and people of Glen Park while also celebrating and honoring the land that we live on and the Canyon that make this neighborhood so special and unique.

Our mural begins at the top of the retaining wall stairs. Islais creek is represented as water flowing down the stairs.  We love the idea that water retains memories, and the history of Glen Park continues to flow through the creek, adapting but staying true to its essence.

In the water are vignettes of Glen Park history starting with Minnie Straub Baxter and the Gum Tree girls (Zoanne Theriault, Joan Seiwald and Geri Arkush), who helped preserve and save Glen Park from freeways.

There are also current Glen Park favorites like Bird and Beckett, the Glenda the Cow, street signs, Canyon Market, Glen Park Bart Station. As the water continues to flow downward, we depict parts of Glen Park past, old trolley cars, Crocker Real estate advertisement, aeronauts, Alfred Noble, a Moorish castle, the first Suffrage march led by Johanna Pinther and an old train. The water then flows into the main wall which opens into Glen Park canyon and Eucalyptus Trees.

The largest main wall opens into a peaceful scene of the canyon from past to present (black and white landscape to color), as we imagine it in its true natural beauty. Glen Park canyon is so unique and special to San Franciscans, a hidden treasure of nature and wildlife right in the city. It still is home to many wildlife like coyotes, red tailed hawks, great horned owls and many more. We wanted to also depict the animals that roamed the canyon before the land was developed, like Grizzly bears, mountain lions, deer, elk and antelope. Wildflowers and medicinal plants that the Ohlone used grow throughout the mural. A Wild holly leaf cherry branch on the bottom right corner provided a food staple for the Ohlone when the trees used to grow along the creek.  Islais means tree (Is-lay) a word from the Ohlone language. We also depict Monarch butterflies, Yellow Swallowtail, Mission Blue butterflies and Damselflies. Colorful Garter snakes and voles make their homes in the rich ground. A Great Horned Owl and her babies nest in the Eucalyptus trees while a Western Scrub Jay flies by and a Bewick's Wren looks beyond.

We placed hummingbirds larger in the foreground of the mural because they represent healing and wisdom. They remind us that the impossible is possible and we can transform our lives with courage, determination and joy. They represent the spirit and fire that the Glen Park community has shown throughout history from the bold women fighting for women’s rights to the Gum Tree girls fighting to preserve the neighborhood they love so much.