"Thank you for your support, not just for "Learning Wall" but for a city life filled with a diversity of artworks, public and personal, historic and yet to be created, that reflect the interconnections of cultures, ideas, eras and aesthetics that each day, create anew, the SF Bay area.”
Say Goodbye To Franklin Street's 'Learning Wall' Mural
Published on November 05, 2014
As multiple tipsters have noted, the longstanding mural that adorns the western wall of the former High School of Commerce building at Hayes and Franklin is in the process of being painted over.
Entitled "The Learning Wall" and completed in 1989 by artist Keith Sklar, the expansive mural depicts an intriguing mixture of mystical imagery that's become a familiar sight on the Franklin Street side of the building.
Photo via tipser Larry-bob R.
The building is owned by the SF Unified School District and in recent years underwent a restoration project led by City Arts & Lectures, which has established its Nourse Theater there. We reached out to the organization to learn more about the future of the wall.
"We are so grateful to artist Keith Sklar for the work he created," said Allie Washkin of City Arts & Lectures. "However, with time, the mural has deteriorated and is in damaged condition."
Washkin tells us that more art could be on the way for the spacious wall. "We are committed to maintaining the wall as a space for art, and will take this as an opportunity to find something that also engages the community and pays tribute to the value of artistic expression."
No word yet on what might be headed to the wall, which was almost completely painted over as of this morning, but we'll keep you posted with any updates.
The full mural in recent years:
Update, 1:15pm: We were able to get in touch with the artist and ask him about his feelings on the disappearance of "The Learning Wall."
"I was informed earlier in the year by the Arts Commission that this would be happening and I accept it," Sklar told us. "Few things are permanent and the process of memory and loss and change over time, both cultural and personal, is at the heart of my art practice."
"In a more perfect world, however, there would have been an opening for discussion about the possibilities to restore the 25-year-old artwork. There seemed to be none. So, in its damaged condition, I felt it time to not fight and let the artwork go."
"While my work has evolved dramatically over the years, 'Learning Wall' is a piece that I feel quite proud of," said Sklar. "I am always inspired by hearing that others cared about it and enjoyed meandering through its rhythms over time. For that I will always be grateful."
Sklar is currently in discussions about restoring a 1985 mural project in downtown Oakland. Sklar tells us that the mural, entitled "Mitzvah: The Jewish Cultural Experience", is weathered, cracked and has recently suffered graffiti damage. "Overall, however, it looks in okay condition given its age."
To fans of his work, Sklar had the following message:
Here's a glimpse of the mural's original glory, courtesy of the artist: