By Angela Greco
One of the Bay Area’s most historic works of art, Diego Rivera’s Pan American Unity mural, has officially begun its move from City College’s Ocean Campus to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) for free display and a temporary home. Meanwhile, the Diego Rivera theater that housed the mural since 1961 will undergo renovations.
Following the removal of the mural’s 10 “fresco” panels, Interim Chancellor Rajen Vurdien relayed that “the process to remove and protect the mural for relocation to SFMOMA for display has taken several years and luckily everything went very well.”
The mural will reside in the Robert’s Family Gallery, on the ground level of the museum, free of charge from the summer of 2021 until the fall of 2023. The display will eventually coincide with Diego Rivera’s “America” exhibit which will open in 2022.
Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI), a non-profit organization that develops digital tools to preserve cultural artifacts, received a grant last year to document the mural before its move. According to CHI founder and director Carla Schroer, they are currently working with Stanford Libraries to have the high-resolution imaging available for public viewing by June, also in sync with the opening at the SFMOMA.
The mural will eventually be housed in a new theater, the Performing Arts and Education Center, for which construction is projected for completion by 2026. Where the mural will be stored following the SFMOMA display and while awaiting the new theater is still in discussion.