Replacing the “Queeros” mural at 1800 Market Street is a new piece of wall-spanning artwork that pays homage to queer spaces and the joy that exists inside of them.
There’s a reason why San Francisco is often referred to as the queer mecca of the world. Between the Castro — a fixture of the Gay Liberation movement, home to some of the oldest queer bars in the United States — and the city’s history with openly gay leaders, San Francisco and the LGBTQIA+ community are intrinsically woven together.
The SF LGBT Center, one of the largest queer nonprofits and community spaces in the country, gleams along Market Street with its deep purple exterior. The building’s facade also houses one of SF’s most notable pieces of public-facing queer art: “Queeros,” a mural dedicated to both local and national queer icons that spans nearly one side of the entire building. (A pair of local queer artists also painted the mural, Juan Manuel Carmona and Simon Malvaez; it was painted over this weekend in preparation for the incoming piece artwork.)
Now, the Center will house another queer-inspired mural, “Joy is Fuel,” which will debut by the end of this month and replace Queeros. The mural — an homage to the “precious and fleeting moments of joy” that are part of the queer experience — is the newest venture by muralist and multi-hyphenate artist Alma Landeta, whose work commonly features the human form in its celebrated tones.
“I’m so excited to be chosen as the next muralist for the SF LGBT Center,” Landeta says in a press release. “As a mixed-race, Cuban American, and queer artist, I’m honored to partner with an organization that embraces and embodies queer artistry and its far-reaching impact. This new mural, Joy is the Fuel, is inspired by those precious and fleeting moments of joy surrounded by the queer community on the dance floor.”
Landeta’s intention for the piece is to “honor those sacred communal spaces” where those aforenoted episodes of bliss transpire. And these celebrated, safe areas are becoming even more critical amid rising rates of hostility against queer folks.
“As attacks on queer and trans people continue to rise, it is when we come together that we can celebrate our resilience,” Landeta continues. “We dare to be joyous in the face of violence. Queer dance parties may seem trivial—but with so much at stake for LGBTQ people right now, it is so much more. It is visceral; it is urgent; it is necessary to be joyous together. Through this mural, I hope queer and trans people feel seen and loved.”
Construction of the mural will begin next week on July 21st, and the finished piece will debut on July 25th; an official unveiling party will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. after the mural is officially shown to the public.