Rachel Znerold smiling in front of a newly painted landscape with a sunset
Rachel Znerold. Photo by William Jenkins May 26 2022

Rachel Znerold dips a green paintbrush into sky-colored-paint and resumes working on a large landscape. The scene is reflected in a photograph propped up on her easel.

The paintbrush is covered with paint, but Znerold is spotless. A rack of her work fills the garage near Dolores Park where she paints.

“I like to think of it as a ‘yes’ space,” she said. “It’s like an open-air living room.”

Znerold, who moved to the city from Boulder, Colorado, in 2007, has been at the same spot near the park for 15 years. While she says a lot of things have changed, a sense of community remains and she still considers the neighborhood “a rich cultural epicenter.”

Originally a pre-med student, she wanted to help people find healing.

“I realized that there’s a lot of ways to heal people through art,” she said.

She arrived in the city aspiring to change the culture and to change the world, but Znerold says  that “San Francisco changed me.”

Znerold said that her pandemic project became the series “Meditations of Hope.” Each piece is meant to provide a sense of peace and hope for the viewer. “Portals to an escape,” she says. 

She’s also done a plethora of commissions, including a mural for the American Indian Cultural District.

Znerold enjoys commissions, especially ones that involve and uplift the community around her.

“That’s the real valuable thing in life. I can’t live without it.”

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Intern Reporter. William moved to the Bay Area from Nashville to pursue a Masters in Journalism from UC Berkeley. He's covered police reform in Oakland and also investigates correctional officer misconduct at the Investigative Reporting Program. You'll mostly see him behind a camera. Follow him on Twitter @WilliamJenk_

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