Showcase California’s long tradition of activist printmaking and offer historical context for understanding our present moment with Mission Gráfica: Reflecting a Community in Print.
As a community print center of diversity and cultural ferment, Mission Gráfica has produced challenging, aesthetically outstanding artwork of social and political relevance for four decades. Mission Gráfica was created in 1982 as part of the Mission Cultural Center through the joint efforts of René Castro, a political refugee from Pinochet’s coup in Chile, and Jos Sances, a Sicilian American, Vietnam war draft resister with a base in commercial printing. Castro’s brilliant graphic design melded with Sances’ technical mastery to create the backbone of the most sought-after political poster center in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1980s. Mission Gráfica attracted important artists from the Bay Area and, ultimately, from international solidarity movements, partnering with both rock stars and guerrilla movements.
During the 1990s, Mission Gráfica was reformulated under the direction of Juan R. Fuentes, who emphasized community projects and classes. He created a more open workshop that served artists exploring personal visions as well as activists involved in local struggles from gentrification to homelessness.
The exhibition, comprised of 42 screenprints, reflects an enormous variety of styles, approaches and sensibilities. The artists range from non-professional and emerging artists to well-known figures such as Carmen Lomas Garza, Nancy Hom, Rupert Garcia, Mildred Howard, Jean La Marr, Ester Hernandez, Michael Roman, Jesus Barraza, Favianna Rodriguez, and the San Francisco Print Collective. A newly-published, lavishly-illustrated book accompanies the exhibition.
Introductory material for each section contextualizes the imagery, and explains the issues explored. Extended captions are provided for each print offering the usual information—artist, title, date, medium, dimensions—augmented by more detail on the meaning of the imagery and the artist’s background.
- Cultural Celebrations, including Juneteenth, El dia de los muertos, and Carnaval
- Indigenous America, focusing on figures like Leonard Peltier, the Zapatistas, and persecuted peoples
- International Solidarity, highlighting struggles against dictatorships and apartheid
- Local Politics, dealing with issues of gentrification and economic and social inequality
- US Imperialism, protesting US arms sales to dictatorships and military conflicts
- Women’s Voices, exploring gender inequality and celebrating women’s empowerment
Mission Gráfica: Reflecting a Community in Print is a touring exhibition developed in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library, artists from Mission Gráfica, and Exhibit Envoy. It is based on the book of the same name.
- Rental Fee:
- $3,500 + shipping for an 8-week booking
- Approximately 1,000 – 1,200 sq. ft.
- English, Spanish
- 42 framed prints spanning four decades and highlighting local, statewide, national, and international issues
- Didactic text panels, including an introduction to each section and extended captions
- Gallery copy of the accompanying Mission Gráfica book, to be published in 2023
- Exhibition press kit with digital images
Schedule and Availability
August 26, 2023 – December 10, 2023
San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco, CA
January 1, 2024 – March 10, 2024
Preparation for Travel
March 31, 2024 – July 21, 2024 (16 weeks)
La Quinta Museum, La Quinta, CA
September 1, 2024 – October 27, 2024
Loveland Museum, Loveland, CO
November 17, 2024 – January 12, 2025
February 2, 2025 – March 30, 2025
April 20, 2025 – June 15, 2025
July 6, 2025 – August 31, 2025
September 21, 2025 – November 16, 2025
December 7, 2025 – February 1, 2026
February 22, 2026 – April 19, 2026
May 10, 2026 – July 5, 2025
July 26, 2026 – September 20, 2026
October 11, 2026 – January 3, 2027 (12 weeks)