The cutout at the 24th Street BART Plaza that looked like a walk-up service window drew considerable attention because it cut into an existing mural honoring a long-time businessman and children who have lost their lives to violence, according to VanishingSF.
The cuts were made as part of renovations for a new cafe and, as it turns out, co-owner John Gavin says the hole will become a regular window, not a walk-up window as Mission Local initially reported. Street artist Twick recently adorned the plywood used to cover the future window during construction with a new piece of work. A larger plywood board, the remnants of a wooden collage that was nailed over the “Heart of the Mission” mural early last fall and taken apart recently, has also been covered in new art.
The original mural includes work by artists Dagon, TMC and TRS, among others. According to user John Fox on Findery, the man depicted in the mural is Fred Husary, who ran Cafe Venice (featured in this video about the cost of health care by the New American Media) there with his son Rami before his death in 2013.
Gavin said he had reached out to neighbors before making the decision to open the wall and getting the permit.
“Nobody had ever mentioned that they weren’t happy with it,” he said.
So far, no artists have returned our attempts to reach them.
Gavin also discussed the portrait of Fred Husary with his son Rami (the previous lessee of the space), and agreed to maintain that portrait rather than paint over the wall.
When one of the artists came by to do touch-ups on the mural before plans for the window had been finalized, Gavin said, someone at the site obtained his phone number and passed it on. Gavin spoke with that artists on the phone, he said, and encouraged him to make any alterations or updates he saw fit after the window was installed.
Gavin said it wasn’t their intention to deface the mural. “If anything, we want to support art,” he said. “It wasn’t done maliciously, me and my brother have both been in and out of that area for about fifteen years, it’s somewhere we know well.”
Current renovations include a new countertop and some kitchen and bathroom updates; the new coffee shop is expected to open in late February or March.
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