Virginia Tieman

Women’s Building Onlookers Share Opinion

In Public on October 10, 2011 at 7:58 am

The Women’s Building, located in the Mission district of San Francisco, has sponsored over 170 organizations since its start in 1971 and continues to help those in need. Housing organizations such as Girls on the Run, Global Service Corps, and San Francisco Women Against Rape, the Women’s Building is no stranger to diversity and hearing from influential women in history.

The outside of the Women’s Building wears a layer of paint that represents many things, ranging from images of nature to illustrations of ‘couragious’ women throughout history. This mural, titled “MaestraPeace,” was done by seven artists as well as many helpers.

Below are several interviews conducted to get a first taste of what the public thinks about the mural.


Keep an eye open for an elaborated piece on the Women’s Building mural that will provide more background information about the workings of MaestraPeace. If you have any questions you would like answered, comment below and I will do my best to sniff ’em out.

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Women’s Building Interview Transcript

Tieman: Hi, I Virginia Tieman and welcome to When Paint Meets Purpose. Today you will be hearing from a few people who had something to share about the Women’s Building mural in San Francisco. I started my quest for information on the inside of the building and quickly located the front desk.

[Door opening]

Tieman: After receiving information about a person who could give me a tour at a later date I ventured upstairs to ask people who worked inside the building if they had any opinion about the mural that covers the building’s walls.

[Walking up stairs]

Tieman: After much running up and down of stairs and at least wishing I recorded the sound of crickets, I came out empty handed and couldn’t believe that people working in such a building didn’t have an opinion about it. My next move was to relocate to outside of the building and snag people that were passing by.

[Birds chirping]

Graciella Mesa: My name is Graciella Mesa. I’m 21. I am a women and gender studies major, and I am originally from Orange County. I think this building is very interesting and a very powerful building. It represents the different modes of women, you know, different ways that women are represented in their culture. It just proves that there isn’t one way to be a woman, that there isn’t just one aspect of womanhood that we all have to be a part of, and that there is so much diversity in just people in general, but practically women in this building. It’s such a beautiful mural and it’s very empowering. It’s a very bright and vivid building. So I mean initially just looking at it would attract any person walking by, especially if they don’t know what this building is, and it would definitely attract people to maybe walk into the building, at least examine the building and sort of see what it’s about. I mean by looking at what is represented on the wall you can tell that it is about women and it is about a diversity of women, of different cultures, of different aspects. Would they necessarily know what the Women’s Building is for? Probably not, but, like specially what it’s for, maybe not, but I’m sure it’s not something that is hard to figure out.

Noelle Skool: Hi, I’m Noelle Skool. We’re outside the Women’s Building and as much as I appreciate about what’s inside the building I don’t really have an opinion on the painting on the outside. I think it gorgeous, but it’s a lot going on and I would see people taking pictures in front of it.

Christine Preziosi: My name is Christine Preziosi. I look at the Women’s Building pretty much like three or four times a week ‘cause it stands out in the city. What I most like about it is how beautiful and creative it is when people inside are dealing with such horrific and traumatic stuff. I think there are pretty impressive and prominent images on it. A few stand out for me, like the front. The naked woman, Mother Earth, ‘Mama Earth,’ I like seeing that every time I go to my ‘Mama Earth’ yoga class. That’s pretty much what I think of, but my friend does that here. So, yeah, that’s pretty great.

Tieman: After scrapping the bottom of the barrel, expertise wise, I walked away from the Women’s Building wanting more. Lucky for the viewers of this blog that is just what you are going to get. This appetizer of an interview set you up for the main course. So, stay tuned for another piece about the Women’s building that will feature somebody with the answers behind the mural. Once again, this is Virginia Tieman with When Paint Meets Purpose — where San Francisco’s murals come to life.

  1. You wrote that you couldn’t believe that the people who worked in the building had no opinions about the painting. In fact, the offices upstairs are hard working non-profit organizations. If you wanted to engage the workers of these non-profit orgs perhaps you should have sought an appointment rather than just showing up expecting hard-working people to stop their work in order to have a spontaneous chat with you about the murals.

    • Ms. Camp,

      I am sorry if my narration on my piece about the Women’s Building upset you in any way. I agree with you that there are other ways of approaching subjects to interview, but, and to use this not as an excuse but rather as a measure toward understanding, I simply do not have the time to set up an appointment with every non-profit organization within the building. I am in the process of setting up an appointment with Tatjana Loh, the Development Director, and will go about doing interviews that way.

      I in no way want this story to reflect poorly on the non-profits or the people who work there and apologize if you felt I did indeed do that. In retrospect, I most likely could have benefitted from wording my piece a bit differently. Alas, as an up and coming journalist, I have a lot to learn and I know I will receive negative feedback — when I rightfully deserve it and when I do not. I wish you all the best.

      Virginia Tieman

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