HAIGHT STREET ART CENTER TO DEDICATE COMPLETELY RESTORED SIGNIFICANT REUBEN KADISH MURAL
(SAN FRANCISCO, CA)
After an extensive restoration to a damaged civic treasure, the Haight Street Art Center will officially dedicate the return-to-pristine form of renowned American sculptor and muralist Reuben Kadish’s 1937 A Dissertation on Alchemy during a presentation and reception on April 27 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Center. The reception is open to the public and free of charge.
One of Kadish’s most important works, the mural was completed as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) arts program established under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The mural lives on the second floor at the top of a grand staircase in the Art Center at 215 Haight Street, a Spanish Colonial Revival-style building and the original site of the San Francisco Normal School, later the San Francisco State Teachers College (ancestor of San Francisco State University), and later, a UC Berkeley Extension building. The building, which was protected during a redevelopment of the entire block, opened as the Haight Street Art Center on July 1, 2017.
“The Haight Street Art Center is the perfect home for Kadish’s visionary mural as we work to uncover and advocate for artists and topics that provoke and challenge societal norms,” said Kelly Harris, executive director of the Art Center.
The important restoration project was made possible in part due to a generous donation from the Victorian Alliance in San Francisco, and a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The meticulous restoration work was completed by Bay Area art conservator Anne Rosenthal in 2021. Prior to the renovation of the Art Center, which was vacant for many years, A Dissertation on Alchemy was defaced, disregarded, and suffered from water damage and a history of old repair.
Born in Chicago in 1913, the sculptor was raised in Los Angeles and began his career as a painter. He befriended Jackson Pollock and Philip Guston while in school and collaborated with both on art projects. After laying the groundwork for a career in the arts, he moved to San Francisco where he painted his surreal fresco that lives in the Art Center and headed the WPA’s Federal Art Project in Northern California. Kadish’s work is also included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The Haight Street Art Center serves San Francisco’s thriving poster art and artist communities with education and cultural development programs, and exhibitions. Drawing upon music, art, social and political counterculture history, we provide a space that bridges communities through social activism and artistic expression.