In November 2011, Amos Gregory decided to take his idea for a mural that honors fallen Iraq War soldiers to the Web. Despite receiving only $390 on their estimated $40,000 project, his group has decided that time is of the essence. Now on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, Gregory and the SF Vets Mural Project in San Francisco's Veterans Alley will begin to paint "4,484 names of the U.S. soldiers that were killed in the American conflict in Iraq" in the 76' x 130' space.
Veterans Alley is located at 555 Geary St., and this project gives veterans a chance to paint a mural that tells their story. According to a press release sent by Gregory, "The significance of Veterans Alley is that art regarding veterans is often done by artists who do not understand the experience of war and are not veterans themselves."
So far, Gregory states that Veterans Alley contains "over 30 murals that tell individual stories of war and trauma." His hopes are that each mural will be like a beacon of light to other veterans searching for solidarity and healing and says, "Veterans are the light at the tip of the candle, illuminating the way for the whole nation. If veterans can achieve awareness, transformation, understanding, and peace, they can share with the rest of society the realities of war. And they can teach us how to make peace with ourselves and each other so that we may never use violence to resolve conflicts ever again."
Altogether, this project continues giving a needed presence of this community in San Francisco. The current mural for Veterans Alley is one part of many ongoing projects coming up in 2012. Along the way, there have been donations by Gregory, Tenderloin community members, the Department of Public Works, the African American Chamber of Commerce, and donors via IndieGoGo, but more funding is necessary.
For more information, contact Amos Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the SFVetsMural.org website to stay informed or donate.
Maryam Louise is a former English instructor and materials developer for the Department of Defense Refugee Resettlement and Education Program in Louisville, Kentucky. Since 1997, she has contributed to academic works on the topic of gender. She has been living in the Bay Area since 2009, continuing her 15-year career in media.