San Francisco, São Paulo artists team up for nonprofit's new Mission mural

San Francisco, São Paulo artists team up for nonprofit's new Mission muralArtists Mona Caron (left) and Mauro Neri in front of their new mural. | Photos: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline
Teresa Hammerl
Published on February 12, 2019

Since Thursday, two acclaimed muralists — San Francisco's Mona Caron and São Paulo's Mauro Neri — have been hard at work on their first-ever collaborative effort. Once completed, the mural will adorn the front entrance of Mission nonprofit New Door Ventures, literally creating new doors in the process.

Located at 3221 20th St. (at Harrison), New Door provides internships, education and skills training to help Bay Area youth aged 16 to 24 embark on careers. 

"It was my dream to have [a mural]," New Door CEO Tess Reynolds said, describing art as positive and uplifting for youth entering the building. "We are growing lives here, one at a time." 

In keeping with that "growing" ethos, the mural depicts seedlings (painted by Caron) and yellow houses (painted by Neri).

“The mural is an echo of what goes on here,” Caron said, noting that the seedlings are ready to grow and to carry the houses with them, a reflection of youth thriving amid difficult transitions.

Caron, who's well known for her Duboce Bikeway and Market Street Railway murals, has gained worldwide acclaim for her use of urban botanicals in her work. This isn't her first collaboration with New Door: she also painted the mural on the facade of the nonprofit's social enterprise, Pedal Revolution

An invitation to a private Q&A session with the artists for New Door's youth.

The 100 percent crowdfunded mural took in about $4,100 from local donors to support its creation. Youth in the program also offered their feedback, commenting on preliminary sketches done by the artists.

Once the mural is complete, Caron and Neri will host a Q&A and pizza party for New Door youth interested in careers in the arts. 

"We want the youth to connect and see who is behind the mural," said New Door COO Mark Cole.

Despite wind and rain over the last couple of days, the two artists have been able to keep to their tight schedule, with only a few details remaining to be painted when Hoodline visited the site on Monday. Once the mural is complete, a protective coating will be added for extra durability and easier dirt removal.

"This morning, I saw people walk by and look at it," said New Door CEO Reynolds, noting that it's drawn a lot of attention from players on the John O'Connell Tech soccer field, located across the street. "[The mural] is making the neighborhood more beautiful."

New Door will host a public mural reveal party sometime next month. Those interested in attending should keep an eye on the nonprofit's Facebook page for more details.