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Two small figures stood on Valencia Street just south of 25th Street at 2 a.m. Sunday and one of them aimed at the cartoon bear painted on Sirron Norris’s art studio at 1406 B Valencia St, a neighbor later told Norris.

Both figures tried again. This time one brick went through the window, the other dropped to the sidewalk.

It all happened quickly and Norris said that the neighbor reported that he and the crowd in front of Clooney’s Pub at 25th and Valencia streets yelled at the vandals – no one knows for sure how old they were – and asked what they were doing. Before anyone knew it, the two young men had jumped into a car waiting for them on 25th Street and were gone.

“You put yourself out there and you’re going to get it,” said Norris this morning. “I just thought at 37-years old, as an adult you think that everyone is going to treat your art with the same respect.”

The incident took him back more than 20 years ago to putting up murals in the Mission District and having them tagged. “They’ve been tagging my murals for years,” he said adding that he had to look at this as a “step up, at least I have a studio.”

He said he has no idea who the vandals were. “Everyone says that they were really small and had skinny jeans,” he said adding that the skinny jeans probably made them look smaller. “I don’t want to speculate. I just want to move on.”

Most immediately that means continuing the work for the gallery’s first show opening on Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. “I’m super excited, it’s a community collaboration, old school meets new school.”

The opening at the studio will include an animated short film about public transportation, “Barely Affordable” by Mohammed Allababidi, work from the students in Norris’s first cartoon class and other collaborations.

One is a mural– Hell in Playland – a street scene that Norris has been working on with Spain Rodriguez, one of the Mission District’s first muralists.

It’s “a black and white piece that is a homage to a mural in his basement,” Norris said.

The two artists worked on the mural last week at the de Young, and will continue to work this week in the studio.

“This set me back some,” said Norris referring to the window. But the gallery opening is seven days away, and that, he said, will bring the community back in.

When a reporter went by to take a photograph on Sunday morning, Norris was inside the studio working. He shrugged, waved and turned back to work.

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Founder/Executive Editor. I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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  1. Any better descriptions of the suspects, other than “small men in skinny jeans”? Facial hair? Hair color/length? Race? Car description? License plate?

  2. was this targeted or was it just general stupid behavior? It sort of starts out saying there was a reason then it seems not to be the case.