Several murals in the iconic Clarion Alley in San Francisco's Mission district were vandalized over the past few weeks. The Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) posted about the vandalism on its Facebook page Sunday morning.
According to Megan Wilson, CAMP's board president and co-director, two of the incidents targeted murals supporting the Palestinian cause, while the most recent vandalism, which Wilson said occurred in the last 48 hours, featured "Make America Great Again" imagery. Overall, Wilson said, about 10 of the 100 or so murals currently in the alley were defaced.
"It feels like a hate crime," said Wilson, who was out repairing her own vandalized mural Sunday. She said she had already planned to be in the alley to attend the dedication of three murals made in support of Palestinian that was scheduled for later in the day, which she believed may have motivated the most recent acts of vandalism.
The mural project is the work of a collective of artists that has produced more than 700 usually social justice-themed murals in the Mission district alley between 17th and 18th and Mission and Valencia streets since 1992.
Wilson said vandalism in the alley isn't common but that the murals have occasionally been defaced over the project's 26-year history. She said anytime it happens, members of the CAMP community show up to support the project and begin the repair process.
By late Sunday morning, some of the murals that had been defaced over the last 48 hours had already been repainted, with more artists coming by to work on repairs later in the day.
Wilson said she spent two hours Sunday morning just responding to emails offering support and donations.
"CAMP has an amazing supportive community that really loves us," Wilson said. "It's really amazing to have that."
Artist Kenshin Shemaya came Sunday to restore a friend's mural after vandals painted Make America Great Again over a figure. Later, he says he'd tackle repairing his own mural.
"The vandalism is a constant, but normally it's just teenage kids coming through with 40 ounces and markers, but this was obviously a premeditated attack," Shemaya said.
Shemaya said the vandals came prepared with several colors to destroy artists' work.
"Rather than going and painting their own mural, expressing their own opinions, they chose to come out and shit on somebody else's," Shemaya said.