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ACT NOW TO Stop Destruction Or Covering Of SF Washington High Victor Arnaugtoff Murals
Date Tuesday June 18
Time 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Type Speaker
Organizer/AuthorSave Our Murals Committee
Location Details
San Francisco Unified School District General Administrative Offices
555 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
ACT NOW TO Stop Destruction Or Covering Of SF Washington High Victor Arnaugtoff Murals
Agenda Item Details
Tuesday Meeting Jun 18, 2019 6PM - Special Meeting Category GENERAL INFORMATION Subject Accessibility Information - Irving G. Breyer Board Meeting Room Type Information

Information on Accessibility to Meetings of the Board of Education
San Francisco Unified School District General Administrative Offices
555 Franklin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
(The Irving G. Breyer Board Meeting Room is Wheel Chair Accessible)
Please See Attached Map

y Information - Irving G. Breyer Board Meeting Room
B. INFORMATION ITEMS
1. IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING PUBLIC COMMENT ON ARNAUTOFF MURAL AT WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL
2. Discussion of Potential Options to Remove From Public View the Arnautoff Mural at George Washington High School



Stop The Covering and/or Destruction of the History Arnautoff Murals



SF School Board To Cover Or Destroy Victor Arnautoff Murals At Washington High-Fate of controversial SF high school mural down to three options

Jill Tucker June 17, 2019 Updated: June 17, 2019 5:04 p.m.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/education/article/Fate-of-controversial-SF-high-school-mural-down-14008090.php?psid=aqSrz

S.F. school officials are expected to decide whether to destroy or keep the historic mural at George Washington High School.Photo: Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle

A statue of George Washington stands near a controversial mural at George Washington High School.Photo: Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle

San Francisco school officials are expected to decide whether to destroy or keep the historic mural at George Washington High School, photographed in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, April 3, 2019. The historic mural depicts the treatment of American Indians and African Americans.Photo: Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle
The San Francisco school board will take a step closer to deciding the fate of a controversial mural at George Washington High School on Tuesday, with the choices narrowed to covering it up or painting over it.

The mural has generated outrage in recent months among some students and community groups who say the images of black slaves picking cotton and white settlers stepping over a dead American Indian are offensive and inappropriate for children.

Yet, mural supporters say the historic fresco, a Depression-era painting by Russian emigre Victor Arnautoff, is an important piece of art that is actually critical of oppression and imperialism and must be saved.

The school board is expected to review three possible actions during a special meeting Tuesday, with an hour of public comment devoted to the issue.

Two options include obscuring the mural with a curtain, at an estimated cost of $375,000, or blocking the public view with custom acoustic panels, which could cost up to $875,000.

The other alternative is to paint over it — at a projected cost of $600,000 — which would take three years to complete. Painting over it would also include additional legally required steps given that it would include the destruction of public property, adding to the costs and time to complete it.


Each option would require environment impact reports, which increase the cost and time required to complete, in addition to the price of supplies and labor.

The mural is “huge and complicated,” and removing it from public view would be a significant task no matter what the board decides, said district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe.


Though the controversial images are only a small part of the large mural, the board’s final decision — expected later this month — would affect the entire piece, Blythe said.

Earlier this year, a community task force, charged by district administrators with recommending a course of action, voted to digitally archive the fresco and then paint over it. The group decided the “mural does not represent SFUSD values,” Blythe said following the vote.

Student Briana King described the images as “rude and disrespectful.” Other critics said such images belong in textbooks or museums, not on the wall of a school where students must see them everyday, endlessly reminded of how African Americans and American Indians have suffered.

Those images, said Lateefah Simon, a Washington High graduate and BART director, “are not for glory, and they are not for show.”


The controversy has gained national attention, with several organizations, including the National Coalition Against Censorship, urging the district to save the mural.

“NCAC strongly urges the district to consider the serious ramifications of the irreversible act of destroying an artwork, as well as the precedent it would set for other works installed in San Francisco public schools that could spark strong emotions in the future,” according to a May 6 letter sent to Superintendent Vince Matthews. “We ask the district to leave the murals in place and provide additional context and programming around them.”

This isn’t the first time there have been calls to remove or destroy the 86-year-old mural, one of many pieces of public art created in San Francisco as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal employment projects.

In response to similar concerns raised in the 1960s, artist Dewey Crumpler, who is black, was hired to paint additional works at the school. The so-called “compromise murals” depicted Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and African Americans overcoming oppression.

Yet, this time the effort to remove the frescoes has momentum, including support from school board President Stevon Cook who said he would like to see the mural removed or painted over.

Mural supporters, including the school’s alumni association, say they will sue to stop any effort to destroy the artwork.

Jill Tucker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jtucker [at] sfchronicle.com Twitter: @jilltucker

"Erasing History" SF Washington High & The Victor Arnautoff Murals
https://youtu.be/sxHijlewzoQ
Historian and geographer Gray Brechin talks about the effort to destroy the historic Victor Arnautoff murals at Washington High in San Francisco. He discusses the history of the murals including their exposure of the history of George Washington. He also discusses other efforts to remove murals at Coit Tower and at Rincon annex because of their political content.
For additional media:
Victor Arnautoff: San Francisco's Master Muralist of the 1930's
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5aYXYqcDNg&t=7s
When conservatives went to war over SF post office murals
https://www.sfchronicle.com/chronicle_vault/article/When-conservatives-went-to-war-over-SF-post-13912445.php
These High School Murals Depict an Ugly History. Should They Go?
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/11/arts/design/george-washington-murals-ugly-history-debated.html
Murals at Washington High School Stoke Debate: Board to Decide Their Fate
https://sfrichmondreview.com/2019/04/30/murals-at-washington-high-school-stoke-debate-board-to-decide-their-fate/
Murals at Washington High School Stoke Debate: Board to Decide Their Fate
https://sfrichmondreview.com/2019/04/30/murals-at-washington-high-school-stoke-debate-board-to-decide-their-fate/
This interview was done by Steve Zeltzer of WorkWeek radio on 5/28/19.
Production of Labor Video Project
http://www.laborvideo.org
sm_arnautoff_bodies_of_indians.jpg

Added to the calendar on Monday Jun 17th, 2019 10:42 PM
§Victor Arnautoff Was Hounded By FBI And Now His Murals Threatened
by Save Our Murals Committee Monday Jun 17th, 2019 10:42 PM
arnautoff_victor_self_portrait.jpg
Victor Arnautoff, the most famous San Francisco artist was hounded by the FBI for the politics in his murals. Now his murals are threatened with destruction at Washington High in San Francisco. The SF School Board have joined the witch hunters in trying to cover up his murals or even destroying them.
§Washinton As Slave Owner To Be Covered Up?
by Save Our Murals Committee Monday Jun 17th, 2019 10:42 PM
sm_wash_arnautoff_with_slaves.jpg
The witch hunters at the San Francisco Board of Education want to cover over or destroy the historic murals at Washinton High that tell the true story of the United States. Instead of using these murals to educate the students and community they want to destroy them.
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Meeting To Start At 5:00 PMrepostTuesday Jun 18th, 2019 7:12 AM

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