The Mothers Building Photography Exhibit by Richard Rothman
San Francisco Public Library, Main Library, 6th floor.
December 15, 2018 – March 15, 2019
Richard Rothman will give tours of the exhibit and answer any questions about the Mothers Building restoration on Saturday, January 12 and Saturday, February 9, from 1-3pm.
The Mothers Building was built in 1925 by architect George Kelham for philanthropists Herbert and Mortimer Fleishacker. Starting in 1933, WPA artists Helen Forbes and Dorothy W. Pucinelli painted four murals inside the building, depicting the story of Noah and the Ark; this theme of renewal struck a hopeful chord during the Great Depression. During the same period, the two mosaics on the outside of the building were completed by sisters Helen, Margaret and Ester Bruton. This is the only building in San Francisco where all of the WPA art work was created by women artists. The Mothers Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
Since 2002, the building has been closed to the public due to deteriorating conditions. Like Coit Tower and the Beach Chalet, the Mothers Building was not built to house or protect murals for posterity.
Community activist Richard Rothman has been working for years to restore the building and its significant WPA artwork, raising public awareness through his photographs. His images document the murals in their current state, some in good shape and others deteriorating.
Find more details here.