An arsonist set fire to the Galería de la Raza’s digital mural illustrating gay love Monday night at 11:12 p.m, according to the police and fire department.
It was the fourth time that someone has vandalized Manuel Paul’s mural Por Vida. The digital triptych on Bryant Street and 24th Streets shows two gay men, a transgender person, and two lesbian lovers.
“When we arrived the fire had been extinguished,” said Mindy Talmadge, a spokesperson for the Fire Department. The damage, she said, was contained to the mural.
Talmadge declined to say what materials had been used to start the fire.
The mural was replaced on Friday at the start of Pride Weekend in San Francisco. It was the third time the mural – done on a digital print out at a cost of $3,000 – had been replaced. A vigil was held that night and Ani Rivera, the director of the Galería, said she stayed over night at the gallery on Friday. It was still in good shape on Monday morning.
Rivera said she was unsure if they would again replace the damaged mural.
“We have to consider a lot of things, including the safety of our neighbors upstairs,” Rivera said on Tuesday morning.
She added that at present they are focusing on organizing a community forum, set tentatively for July 18th. They are still looking for a place that will be large enough.
In a prepared statement released later in the day she added, “…the emotional trauma our neighbors and local communities have suffered is unacceptable and we must finds ways to heal.”
The anger, she added, “has moved beyond the dislike a piece of art and into endangering the lives of families who live in the building and could have displaced families that have lived in the building for more than 20 years.”
Rivera said the Galería has security footage of Monday night’s incident and that there is an active investigation underway.
Residents interviewed in the area this morning said they heard and saw nothing. One of them said that there was drilling going on late at night, but that was all she heard.
The two earlier incidents took place over successive weekends. This was the first weekend without an incident.
Earlier, the Galería’s director said that she recognized someone in the security video footage. The earlier acts of vandalism are being investigated by the San Francisco Police Department as hate crimes.
We are updating the information this story as we get more information.
Mural at Galería Survives Friday and Saturday Nights, June 28, 2015
SF Galería Recognizes One Suspect in Video, June 25, 2015
Gay Mural Will Be Restored As Many Times As Needed, June 24, 2015
Mural Honoring Gay Love Vandalized Again, June 22, 2015
SF Gay Mural Defaced and defamed, June 17, 2015