Clarion Alley Mural Project Favorite 



Jan 1 1992


San Francisco

The Mission of CAMP is to support and produce socially engaged and aesthetically diverse public art as a grassroots community-based, artist-run organization based in San Francisco.
Clarion Alley Mural Project is a fiscally sponsored project of Independent Arts & Media.

Throughout its history Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) has used public art as a force for those who are marginalized and a place where culture and dignity speak louder than the rules of private property or a lifestyle that puts profit before compassion, respect, and social justice.

Clarion Alley runs one block (560 ft long and 15 ft. wide) in San Francisco’s inner Mission District between 17th & 18th and Mission and Valencia streets. Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) was established in 1992 by a volunteer collective of six residents/ artists – Aaron Noble, Rigo 92, Sebastiana Pasztor, Michael O’Connor, Mary Gail Snyder, and Arcely Soriano – who were inspired by the murals of Balmy Alley that began in the early-70’s as an expression of artists’ outrage over human rights and political abuses in Central America and focused on Central American social struggles.

However, CAMP did not choose a single theme and instead focused on the two goals of social inclusiveness and aesthetic variety. As a result CAMP has produced over 700 murals on and around Clarion Alley by artists of all ethnicities, ages, and levels of experience, with an emphasis on emerging artists, new styles and a social justice framework. Additionally, CAMP has produced large-scale projects off-site, including the Redstone Labor Temple Project and Sama-Sama/Together an international exchange and residency with artists from Yogyakarta Indonesia.

Over the past twenty years, San Francisco’s Mission District has radically changed. Especially since the first dotcom boom in the late nineties, the neighborhood has seen its rents increase tenfold. The average rent for a 1-bedroom in 2017 was $3,455. Additionally, many longtime small businesses have been forced out by rising rents and the district has been hit by an epidemic of resident evictions.

Sadly CAMP has also been greatly impacted by the extreme gentrification of the Mission District since the late nineties. What started as neighborhood-based project committed to diversity and inclusion, is now a magnet for lots of folks hoping to profit off of the image that CAMP has created – from the developers and real estate agents who use CAMP as a selling point for the “cool, hip Mission experience,” to those who use the space for fashion shoots, to corporations hoping to include the “gritty urban street art” image to sell their products, to any number of paid tours by folks unrelated to CAMP, spreading misinformation about the project, artists, and murals.

CAMP itself was evicted from our warehouse at 47 Clarion in 2000 to make way for new condo lofts. In addition to its long history as a space for artists, including Terry Riley, Steven Arnold, and the Cockettes, 47 Clarion was the original office and studio for CAMP. We were then evicted from our garage on the alley in 2005.

Many of the artists who once lived in the neighborhood have also been displaced due to the outrageous and unaffordable hikes in rents to the area and the eviction epidemic. It’s been truly heartbreaking to watch so many people who have spent years working hard and investing in the community be forced to leave because, while they have plenty of creativity, energy, and love for the neighborhood, they don’t have enough money to keep their homes, small businesses, and community-based organizations.

Moving forward, CAMP will continue to be a force for those who are marginalized and a place where culture and dignity speak louder than the rules of private property or a lifestyle that puts profit before compassion, respect, and social/economic/environmental justice.

Posted by Annalisa Ciro on

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