City College to preserve Diego Rivera mural

May 17, 2011 8:02:19 PM PDT
City College of San Francisco and the Consul General of Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday to preserve a Diego Rivera mural displayed in a theater at the college.

The 1940 mural, titled "Pan American Unity," is about the "marriage of the artistic expression of the North and of the South on this continent," Rivera said in an interview that year.

William Maynez of the Diego Rivera Mural Project at City College said Tuesday's memorandum is meant to formalize an ongoing relationship between the college and the consul general's office.

The consul general's office has awarded scholarships at City College for the last three years, Maynez said, and will be working with the school on long-term plans for the mural.

He said the current location in lobby of the Diego Rivera Theatre makes it impossible to see the entire mural at once. The piece is 22 feet high and 74 feet long.

"We're hoping to build a venue in which the mural would finally be displayed in a respectful manner and where we could house our extensive Rivera materials," Maynez said.

An inspector from the Getty Conservation Institute evaluated the mural in 1999 and said it was a little bit dirty but otherwise in excellent condition, according to Maynez.

"They changed our perspective by telling us to think about taking care of it for the next 200 years," he said.

Various college departments use the mural in their curriculum, including the art, history and political programs.

"It's our college's treasure," said Gohar Momjian with the college chancellor's office.

Tuesday's signing was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and feature Consul General Carlos Felix Corona and college Chancellor Don Q. Griffin.


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