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    The Women’s Building Mural – Maestrapeace

    Editor’s Note: The San Francisco Bay Times is proud to present a new column from the GLBT Historical Society highlighting select treasures from the organization’s vast, incomparable collection. The holdings include works of art, photographs, artifacts, and much more revealing the history and personal stories that make up the fabric, past and present, of the Bay Area LGBTQ community and beyond.

    When objects evoke strong feelings and reactions, we gather, document and safeguard them. Passed from hand-to-hand, generation-to-generation, they accumulate layers of meaning: glamorous triumphs, terrible losses, romantic encounters, epic adventures, fleeting moments of connection, and hard-won achievements. Every piece reveals stories both personal and collective. For more than 35 years, the GLBT Historical Society has worked to diligently collect objects that document the personal and collective stories of diverse LGBTQ communities. Today, we preserve more than 1,000 individual archival collections that reveal a vast array of LGBTQ life, history and culture. From drag outfits and massive flags, to deeply personal diaries and correspondence, to organizational records, historic bar signs, ephemera, and more, our archival holdings make up one of the largest collections of LGBTQ historical materials ever assembled.

    The objects in our archives represent our community’s treasures, and throughout the year, we will be sharing selected pieces from our collections in the pages of the San Francisco Bay Times. We have even more historic
    artifacts on display at our museum, at 4127 18th Street in the Castro District, including selections from icons like Harvey Milk, José Sarria, Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin; ephemera from numerous historic queer spaces and events; and the only known remnant of the original rainbow flags from 1978. Our archives, located downtown at 989 Market Street, contain thousands more
    pieces and are open to researchers by appointment. To book a visit to our archives or museum, or to make a contribution to support our work, visit

    The first pieces we have selected to share are beautiful architectural drawings, showing the initial plans for Maestrapeace, a nationally acclaimed mural that adorns the San Francisco Women’s Building on 18th
    Street in the Mission District. The mural was designed and painted by Maestrapeace Artworks, an arts organization composed of seven women muralists: Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edythe Boone, Susan Kelk
    Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton, and Irene Perez. The piece honors the history of women’s contributions to societies worldwide and honors both famous and unsung women. The mural was painted in 1994,
    and these plans show how the muralists conceived and brought their vision to life.

    This archival piece is part of the Maestrapeace Artworks Records (collection no. 2008-50), held by the GLBT Historical Society, which documents the planning and execution of this incredible work of art. The society also
    holds an archival collection preserving the organizational records of the San Francisco Women’s Centers/Women’s Building from 1972 to 2001, providing a comprehensive look at second-wave feminism in the city.
    The Society maintains a strong commitment to documenting the diverse lives of LGBTQ communities and is especially interested in receiving and preserving archival collections that focus on the intersectional experiences of women, people of color, transgender and nonbinary people. If you have materials such as these and are interested in donating them, please consider contacting our archives staff at

    Published on July 12, 2023