Mural replaces graffiti at 16th Street BART plaza (updated)

For $10,000 and a weekend's worth of work, a graffiti site at 16th and Mission was replaced by a hip-hop-themed mural.

UPDATE 3:57 p.m. Reports from our commenter that the mural has been defaced turned out to be accurate. The words “Amber Alert Mary Rose Shela Alicia Amber Alert” were tagged in white over the mural that is less than a month old.

Eric Rodenbeck, the CEO of Stamen Designs who helped finance the mural,  said even with the fresh mural vandalized, the wall still looks better than it used to. He plans to have another piece up soon.

“I am committed to have 16th and Mission BART plaza clean and welcoming for everyone who uses it,” he said.

Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

Originally published July 10, 11:32 a.m.

Nonprofit hands developer $10K to fund artwork


From his office at Stamen Design on Mission Street,  Eric Rodenbeck has a clear view of the former Burger King on 16th and Mission Streets — empty since January of this year, and a magnet for vandalism.

The developer that owns the land — Maximus Real Estate Partners — was forced to repeatedly paint over graffiti on the property, which is the proposed future home of the controversial 1979 Mission Street project — the so-called “Monster in the Mission.”  

As CEO and Creative Director of Stamen Designs, Rodenbeck is a firm believer that art can change people’s lives, which is one of the reasons he chose to fund a mural here. In addition to this, Rodenbeck also hated seeing the BART Plaza being trashed and vandalized daily, when it should be a welcoming and safe place both for Mission residents and visitors.

“All the neighborhood groups are completely toxic about anything good happening in the plaza because they don’t want to appear to be supporting Maximus or gentrification,” Rodenback said. “And all the while this is going on, the place is completely trashed, diseased, dysfunctional, crime-ridden.”

Rodenbeck, who has been living in the Mission for 24 years now and has been working at Stamen Designs for 17 of them, said one weekend of work has made all the difference.

“Every day I’d come to work and I’d look out the window, and I would see horrible tags, so you know, personally, I’m just glad to see some art.”

He made a daily ritual of sending pictures of the seedy plaza, including the vandalized wall of Burger King, to BART staff. After a month of this, some BART staff met with him to explain that the city was in charge of the sidewalks, but not the plaza itself. BART also steam-cleaned the plaza every night, but by 8 a.m, the place was trashed again.

Rodenback was not the first person to conceive of a mural on the spot. In July of last year, Mission4All, the community outreach group established by Maximus to push for the 1979 Mission project, reached out to price a mural on the site. The answer they got back, according to organizing director Angelica Santiago, was around $63,000. So, that ended the discussion for a while. Rodenback started the discussion back up again. And paid for it — sort of.

“I wasn’t happy to see was that [the plaza] was being tagged by casual taggers on a daily basis,” he said. “That’s why I funded the mural.”

Rodenbeck, who is on the board of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, which funds art, education and health, decided to direct his $10,0000 discretionary fund from the foundation to Mission4All after reaching out to Maximus Real Estate Partners to suggest painting a mural over the vandalized properties.

The foundation required him to donate the money to the community one way or another, and Rodenbeck emphasizes that Maximus Real Estate Partners and Kenneth Rainin Foundation are not affiliated. The donation was made under his name and not the foundation’s, Rodenbeck noted.

From there, Mission4All hired “Adan,” a Mission artist who designs clothing for local store Dying Breed, to paint and curate the project that went up on the weekend of June 9.  

“Adan,” who was hesitant to talk to Mission Local, said that he chose an ‘80s hip-hop culture-themed mural to make it more relatable, and also as a tribute to the Bay Area’s street-art history.

Rodenbeck said that each of the 10 artists who participated were paid $500. The remainder went to pay for lunch, dinner, materials, and Adan.

The former Burger King is part of the 1979 Mission project led by Maximus Real Estate Properties. The current proposed plan, according to spokesman Joe Arellano, is to build 331 units. Maximus is still discussing how many units will be affordable, but Arellano said that it will exceed city requirements.

Arellano said that it’s unclear when (or if) the project will break ground, as city approval is still pending.

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18 Comments

  1. Too bad it was defaced this morning with giant white letters.

  2. marc Salomon

    An arts nonprofit donating money to a for-profit real estate developer?

    • Scott Bravmann

      It’s also true that Rodenbeck does not live in the Mission. He’s been living in the TL for much, if not all, of the past fifteen or so years. He even stated as much in almost a year ago in a comment on Hoodline’s article on the Bi-Rite ice cream stand that was being installed next to the playground at Civic Center. “I live in the Tenderloin. Am really looking forward to bringing my son to eat here. It doesn’t get any more community oriented than Bi Rite.” I found that funny.

      https://hoodline.com/2017/07/pending-planning-ok-bi-rite-to-operate-civic-center-plaza-cafe

      • Edith Hamilton

        Yes, definitely weird that the Maximus Bi-Rite community guy has lived in the Mission for 24 for years while simultaneously living in the tenderloin. These tech CEO guys just have abilities way beyond the mortals, they can live in two places at the same time. with those god inspired abilities the rest of us shouldn’t despair at the income inequalities of the new San Francisco.

      • Pat

        And what’s your point? Mission residents don’t seem to care enough to keep the neighborhood clean. What does it matter which SF neighborhood he lives in? Furthermore, the muralist director is Mission.

        • Donna Gold

          I’d say the point is the Stamen CEO is an astroturfer. A fraud
          .
          First he goes online and claims to be a legitimate voice of the Tenderloin,shilling for Bi-Rite to locate there.

          Then in this instance, he astroturfing that he has also been living in the Mission for 24 years. But hey, he lives in the Tenderloin.

          And Maximus has been an abusive Astroturfef. Putting up poster in the Muni Stations, with pictures and quotes like the people in the photo supported them. Naming their groups deceptively.

          Bi-Rite isn’t what SF think’s of as Tenderloin, and Stamen’s CEO’s claim that Bi-Rite is “community” just shows how bubbled apart the tech elites are from what has usually gone by the name of community in San Francisco. Tale of two cities.

          And your comment about Mission not caring enough to keep it clean is offensive stereotyping, and its a shame that sort of talk is becoming normalized.

          • I’ve corrected the error about where I’ve lived and for how long. Please see the comments below. Apologies for any confusion. I’ve lived in the Tenderloin for seventeen years. I have been working at 16th and Mission for eighteen years, and lived in the Mission for six years before that.

            Bi-Rite’s ice cream stand is coming to the Civic Center as part of a multi-year, multi-stakeholder community plan which has had intense participation and many public meetings with the Mayor’s Office, Public Works, Civic Center Community Benefit District, Public Works, SF Rec & Parks, the Asian Art Museum, Hunters Point Family, Downtown Streets Team, the San Francisco Arts Commission, The Pit Stop Program, SFPD, SF Homeless Outreach Team, The Tenderloin Community Benefit District and many others. This is as community-oriented an effort as it could be. The new Helen Diller Playgrounds are also there and staffed by Hunters Point Family team members who keep them safe and clean for neighborhood children and families. You can read more about the work we are doing there here http://www.civiccentercommons.org/. We are having a family-oriented block party there on July 19th, I invite you to come and see what our community can do when we pull together.

            I also invite you to see how 16th and Mission has been very positively improved in recent months. The Downtown Streets Team come out every weekday day from 8am-noon, and as a result of Bevan Dufty’s strenuous efforts (he came out and cleaned himself a number of times https://medium.com/@ericrodenbeck/thanks-supervisor-dufty-6a59bd975dc3) we now have 6 full-time janitors who take very good care of the station. Previous to this there were none.

          • Pat

            How is Bi-Rite not what “SF” thinks of as “community”? What does “SF” think of as Tenderloin? Who exactly is “SF”?

            I am “SF” for over 3 decades and I think of Bi-Rite as “community.” Do I and the hundreds (if not thousands) of other “SF” residents and Bi-Rite customers not count as “community”? Is Bi-Rite’s commitment to raise tens of thousands of dollars for local non-profits not “community”?

            Don’t the terms “SF” (implying SF residents) and “community” encompass all residents or is the terms narrowly defined here to only include a select class? Please tell us, oh arbiter of all things “SF”, who qualifies as SF Community?

            Here you have a guy who is working hard to improve his neighborhoods and make them cleaner and safer for children and families, and all residents, and all that matters is that he doesn’t live in the “right” neighborhood? Does working and having a business for decades quality him as “Mission”? The term “community” has been hijacked by progressive activists to create a myopic and hypocritical world view where “SF” and “community-oriented” is defined as excluding the majority of SF residents from having any rights to contribute to their city.

            And in regards to Roderbeck’s post below…

            “Bi-Rite’s ice cream stand is coming to the Civic Center as part of a multi-year, multi-stakeholder community plan which has had intense participation and many public meetings with the Mayor’s Office, Public Works, Civic Center Community Benefit District, Public Works, SF Rec & Parks, the Asian Art Museum, Hunters Point Family, Downtown Streets Team, the San Francisco Arts Commission, The Pit Stop Program, SFPD, SF Homeless Outreach Team, The Tenderloin Community Benefit District and many others.”

            Consider the mere fact that such outreach is even necessary to place an ice-cream stand in a neighborhood… yet STILL is not considered “SF” or “Community” enough in the minds of the “community” activists. It is mind-boggling, and such attitudes will doubtless shove a large number of “SF” liberals away from the progressive agenda towards a less ridiculous and hysterical SF government in the coming years.

          • ‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
            And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
            Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
            I shake it off, I shake it off

          • Donna

            Its saying San Francisco has become a tale of two cities, two castes bubbled apart..

            Where does he identify that he shops for food?, cuz food is important,

            Mi Terrra Market is right out his door at the Mission Plaza building, Mi Tierra is crowded with residents from one of the tales. It will be selling strawberry’s at 2 packs for a dollar, and tomatoes at 3 lb for a dollar. While in the other tale, Bi Rite, 5 blocks away, sells strawberries for $4.39 for 1, and $2.99 a pound for tomatoes . Bii-Rite has meats for $29.99 a pound. He identifies as part of the Bi-Rite story. And his non-profit gives money to big real estate.

          • I agree. Food is important.

            Mi Tierra is great. I buy groceries there all the time. The guys that run it are opening a restaurant across the street. I’ve been helping them get a permit to open a window out on to the BART plaza so they can put tables & chairs out.

            Bi Rite is great. They’re taking a risk and opening an ice cream stand in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the City. They donate thousands of dollars a year to nonprofit neighborhood groups https://18reasons.org/ They deserve our applause.

            We’re all here together. Bi Rite, Mi Tierra, Stamen. Things are changing. They always have been. There are rich people here, there are poor people here, and everybody’s got to find a way to get along. You can hate on people trying to make things better and take pot shots at them from the sidelines, or you can engage with your neighbors and try and make good things happen so we all benefit. I know which choice I’ve made.

          • marc salomon

            The issue here is that 16th and Mission have been problematic in this regard for decades. The only time we see anyone getting agitated about doing anything about it is when a market rate luxury condo developer wants to build.

            We see the established but worthless city funded nonprofits objecting to this project because Maximus does not want to pay their extortion toll. These “playas” and seat warmer Campos sat on their asses as 90 luxury condo projects infested the Mission. But when their asses are not kissed, then and only then do they organize Yet Another Organization of Organizations to attempt to speak for the community. Several residents tried to go to some of the Plaza 16 meetings a few years back. They met mid-days, predominantly itinerant nonprofit workers few of whom live in the City or the Community. They made it clear that we were not welcome. All they want is their cut and they’ll stand down

            And on the other hand, we see wanna be “playas” insinuating themselves as saviors for our community by “partnering” with market rate developers. We could not have done this without deep pocketed developers and techies.

            Missing from this is any organized component of actual residents of the neighborhood. One thing that unites market rate luxury condo developers and their nonprofit adjuncts and libertarian-y newcomers is a seething hatred for San Franciscans and a desire to keep us as far away from the policymaking table as possible.

        • Marc, I think we agree on a lot of things. I think this is your article on Medium about what to do?

          https://medium.com/@marcsalomon/cutting-to-the-chase-on-homelessness-in-san-francisco-f688c5178308

          1. Fresh water must be made available to homeless zones,
          2. Toilet facilities and appropriate sanitation must be provided to encampment dwellers in homeless zones,
          3. Trash disposal must be provided in homeless zones,
          4. Shower, bathing and hand washing facilities must be provided in homeless zones,
          5. Secure charging stations for cellular devices must be provided in homeless zones,
          6. Mobile mental health crisis intervention stations,
          7. Mobile substance crisis intervention and safe injection stations,
          8. Mobile public health wellness care stations.

          I think this is all great stuff. I’ve been working hard to get more Pit Stops to the Tenderloin, and am a big fan of the two Pit Stops here at 16th and Mission, staffed by Hunters Point Family members. If you ever want to work me on any of the things you mention for the 16th and Mission Plaza, I hope you’ll reach out, I’m easy to find.

  3. TCP

    Is Mary Rose Shela Alicia a real person? What does that tag even mean, like Amber Alert is for kidnapping, right so is this tag about ICE kidnapping Latinos, or is it some kind of drugged and random tag?

  4. I’ve mailed Mission Local and asked them to correct the part about me living in the Mission for 24 years. It’s not quite accurate. I lived in the Mission from 1994 till about 1999. I started a design business at 16th and Mission that same year. That business closed in 2001 and I started Stamen that same year at the same location. We’ve been here ever since. Apologies for any confusion about the dates. You live and work in a place long enough, things can get complicated.

  5. Rosa

    fuckin vandals

  6. There’s been a lot of discussion on this thread about how the Bay Area is turning into a tale of two cities. I thought the people interested in this might find this interview interesting, a conversation at SFMOMA on “The Value of Networks at a Time of Fragmentation:”

    https://publicknowledge.sfmoma.org/the-rise-and-fall-of-urban-economies-an-interview-with-michael-storper/

    “The Bay Area is, in economic terms, the most successful area in America today, maybe in the world, judged by its incomes and productivity. When we measure income inequality in the Bay Area, using the index that is known as the Gini coefficient on income, Bay Area inequality is about the same as New York, Los Angeles, and several other large metropolitan areas with high per capita incomes. The paradox is that some other places in America have less inequality, but they are poorer on average. The optics of it are often misleading. When you are in places like San Francisco and Manhattan, it seems outrageous, because you’re looking at $12 million apartments and expensive restaurants, and then people sleeping on the street. But if you go into small town America, or even the less successful metropolitan areas in America, homelessness, drug abuse, lack of social services and so on are probably worse than in San Francisco. Now, I’m not saying this to be an apologist, but to put San Francisco and other highly successful metropolitan areas in perspective.

    “The other perspective to offer is social mobility. It turns out that the highest intergenerational social mobility in America is in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you go to Atlanta or Dallas, there is a much lower probability that from one generation to another you will move up the income scale. That actually makes a lot of sense because San Francisco is a very dynamic economy.

    “We can come back to the housing dimension of inequality, but it is true that housing is where inequality becomes part of the lived feelings or fabric of daily life, and in this respect, the Bay Area is feeling the mismatch between income inequality and the array of housing that is available to people.”

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