Balmy Alley (formally Balmy Street) is a one-stop street that is home to the most concentrated collection of murals in the city of San Francisco. It is located in the southern central part of the Inner Mission District, between 24th Street and Garfield Square. Since 1973, most of the buildings on the street have been decorated with a mural.
The street is located in the Mission District of San Francisco , California. The block long alley is the best place to see San Francisco's most concentrated collection of murals. The murals began in the mid-80s as an expression of artists' outrage over human rights and political abuses in Central America. Today the alley contains murals on a myriad of styles and subjects ranging from human rights to local gentrification.
The first murals in the alley date back to 1972, painted by Maria Galivez and the children in the local child care centre. Artists Patricia Rodriquez and Graciela Carillo had rented an apartment on Balmy Alley and painted their first mural in the Alley, a jungle underwater scene, in 1973. Their two-woman team soon expanded to become known as Las Mujeres Muralistas. Fellow Irene Perez painted her own mural on the alley in 1973, depicting two back-to - back figures painting flutes.
In 1984, in a second major wave of murals in the alley, Ray Patlan spearheaded the PLACA project to install murals throughout the alley on the common theme of the celebration of indigenous Central American cultures and the protest of US intervention in Central America. The themes of the murals included the Nicaraguan Revolution, Óscar Romero and the Guatemalan Civil War. This culminated in the addition of twenty-seven murals during the summer of 1985, financed in part by a grant of $2,500 from the Zellerbach Foundation. This art project proved to be influential, inspiring the next year's La Lucha Continua Art Park / La Lucha Mural Park in New York City.
Painting continues on a regular basis in the alley, including new murals on gentrification and police harassment in 2012 and the restoration of one of the PLACA murals in 2014. In addition to the above, the artists who produced murals in the alley include Juana Alicia, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Marta Ayala, Brooke Francher, Miranda Bergman, Osha Neuman, Carlos Loarca, Xochitl Nevel-Guerrero and Sirron Norris.
The Balmy Alley murals, along with San Diego's Chicano Park and Los Angeles' Estrada Courts, have been described as a leading example of murals reclaiming Chicano spaces and reflecting the history of Chicano displacement and marginalization. The grouping of murals in the alley is internationally recognized both as an example of activist art and as a tourist destination.
How To Get There
Balmy Alley is located in The Mission off 24th Street. It's parallel to Treat Ave and Harrison Street between 24th and 25th streets. Take BART to the 24th Mission. Walk EAST (to Capp Street) for 5 1/2 blocks.
If you're driving, use the map. Balmy is a small alley with lots of pedestrians, please park nearby and walk around-it 's a much better way to appreciate the murals. (24th Street and small parts of the side streets are the only ones with a meter).
This amazing landmark is located in San Francisco, California and is only a short distance away from:
- Camera Obscura
- The Vulcan Stairway
- Labyrinth at Lands End
- Tank Hill
- Yerba Buena Gardens Sculptures
- Seward Street Slides
- Urbano Sundial
- Shakespeare Garden at Golden Gate Park
All of these wonderful attractions are located just a short distance from our location, conveniently located just down the freeway at 1261 Locust St, Walnut Creek! Stop by for a visit anytime!