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New SF Heritage Artist-in-Residence Mark Dean Veca to Unveil ‘Ornamental Illness’ Exhibition in May 2022


Mark Dean Veca, 76, 2022
One-color screen print on Coventry rag vellum 320gsm, 53 x 39.5”, edition of 10

Mark Dean Veca: Ornamental Illness

May 7 through May 29, 2022
San Francisco Heritage’s Pop-Up Gallery
1506 Haight Street near Ashbury Street

Exhibition Schedule: May 7 – May 29, 2022
Wednesday-Sunday, 12:00 – 6:00 PM
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 7, 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Conversation with the artist and curator Renny Pritikin: Saturday, May 14, 3:00 – 4:00 PM

Mark Dean Veca. Photo by Robbie Jeffers.

San Francisco Heritage is pleased to announce artist Mark Dean Veca as our next artist-in-residence in the Haight-Ashbury. Veca’s time at SF Heritage’s historic Doolan-Larson Building starts in May 2022, where he will host a pop-up exhibition and create new drawings and paintings inspired by the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood’s past and present.

“I’m so grateful to receive this unique privilege- this gift of time and space to live and work as an Artist-in-Residence at San Francisco Heritage’s Doolan-Larson Building,” said Veca. “I look forward to immersing myself in the history of Haight-Ashbury and filtering it through my own artistic sensibility to create something new, that would never have emerged from my own studio.”

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, for over thirty years Veca has produced murals, paintings, drawings, installations, sculptures, prints, designs, and other sundry inventions. In the essay “Mark Dean Veca: Life|Drawing,” art critic, author, and curator Shana Nys Dambrot summed up Veca’s artistic repertoire:

“Along the way, he has experimented with a range of visual styles from the loose and abstract to the obsessive and meticulous; mastering the power of the confident line and discovering the patience required for meticulous detail and the bravado for a super-saturated palette. And though the scale and scope of his work have expanded toward the operatic, his process has never been more intimate. An omnivorous observer of visual culture equally versed in Mad Magazine and Modernist theory, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and French Regency, R. Crumb and Ed Ruscha, Mark Dean Veca’s art truly is the sum of its paradoxical parts and his particular gift lies in making gorgeous, giddy, glorious sense of those paradoxes.”

During his time as artist-in-residence, Veca will run a concurrent exhibition at SF Heritage’s Pop-Up Gallery, located at 1506 Haight Street on the groundfloor storefronts of the Doolan-Larson Building. Mark Dean Veca: Ornamental Illness will open May 7, 2022, and will be on view through May 29, 2022. The exhibition will feature a new suite of screen-printed editions originally created during a residency at The Space Program in San Francisco late last year. Veca will also host an artist talk on May 14 with Renny Pritkin, former curator at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

“I look forward to immersing myself in the history of Haight-Ashbury and filtering it through my own artistic sensibility to create something new, that would never have emerged from my own studio.” – Mark Dean Veca

San Francisco Heritage first launched its pilot artist-in-residency program in the fall of 2020 with visual artist Jeremy Fish, and has since hosted musicians, choreographers, non-profit organizations, and journalists.

“We are honored to be hosting Mark Dean Veca as part of our new Artist-in-Residence program, which invites artists and activists to take inspiration from our mission—to preserve and enhance San Francisco’s unique architectural and cultural identity—during a residency at Haight and Ashbury with its echoes of the counterculture,” said Karalyn Monteil, President & CEO of San Francisco Heritage. “We are especially looking forward to his exhibition and artist talk with curator Renny Pritikin in our pop-up gallery space at 1506 Haight Street,” she added.

To read more about Veca and his new edition of screenprints, visit his website.

Celebrate the Official Launch of the Sunset Chinese Cultural District on May 22

In April 2022, legacy business Wah Mei School was announced as the new stewards of the Sunset Chinese Cultural District, originally created in 2021 as San Francisco’s ninth cultural district. SF Heritage has been proud to serve as a one of SCCD’s community planning partners, and congratulate Wah Mei on their new role! To celebrate, we will host a joint APIA Heritage Month community event in the Sunset on May 22, 2022.
The event will take place from 9:00-3:00 PM at the Outer Sunset Farmers Market and Mercantile, located at 37th Avenue and Ortega. The event will include children’s activities and community engagement activities, and a speaker program is planned between 11:00 and 12:00 PM. After introducing the new cultural district to neighbors at previous events such as the Sunset Community Festival in October 2021 and Lunar New Year Market in February 2022, we are looking forward to this official launch event together with our SCCD partners.

#SFLegacyBiz Spotlight: SF Microscopical Society

The San Francisco Microscopical Society at the Bay Area Science Festival at Oracle Park, May 2022. Photo courtesy of NBC Bay Area.

Recommended by the Historic Preservation Commission to join the Legacy Business Registry on May 4, 2022, the San Francisco Microscopical Society (SFMS) has a history dating back over 150 years.

The Society has roots dating back to 1870, when it was originally formed by two members of the California Academy of Sciences, Hiram Bloomer and Henry Hanks. The Society’s original constitution, bylaws, and articles of incorporation date back to 1872. SFMS was established with the intention of studying the use of microscopes in science through periodic meetings, which consisted of discussion, research, demonstrations, and topic lectures pertaining to microscopy.

Early rooms of the San Francisco Microscopical Society, n.d. Image courtesy of SFMS’s legacy business application.

The San Francisco Microscopical Society met through 1905, when it then disbanded, and subsequently re-formed in 1946 under the guidance of George Needham, but was not officially registered with the California Secretary of State until 1954. It has continuously operated for the past 68 years and is the only society of its kind in San Francisco.

Though its physical location has changed many times during its existence, SFMS has continuously provided a gathering place for microscopy enthusiasts. From its inception, the Society has conducted research, published articles, hosted demonstrations and lectures, and provided education for a range of topics pertaining to microscopy. Scientific topics explored by SFMS research and events have varied greatly, and include geology, botany, biology, epidemiology, paleontology, and many more.

SFMS also continues to give back to the community it serves, primarily through its outreach and microscope education events. It provides anyone in the public with a curiosity about microscopes an opportunity to connect with others with a similar curiosity and with those who are experts in microscopy. Further, SFMS strives to make microscopy accessible to all and offers expert advice to a range of individuals, including those who are just learning how to use a microscope, to institutions seeking advice from professional microscopists.

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SFMS is always looking for new members of any background and experience level. If you could use a friendly community that enjoy exploring the microscopic world, sign up here.

Read SFMS’s full legacy business application here.

SF Heritage on the road: Latinos in Heritage Conservation’s Congreso 2022


Congreso 2022 banner in the atrium of History Colorado.

By Kerri Young

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, I took SF Heritage on the road to attend Congreso 2022 in Denver, Colorado, a bi-annual gathering from Latinos in Heritage Conservation (LHC). Hosted at History Colorado on April 28-30, Congreso offered three days of rich content spotlighting efforts to preserve and protect Latinx heritage across the United States. The fourth since LHC’s founding in 2014, the gathering, according to the organization, provides “a forum to amplify regional efforts, successes as well as challenges, with the goal of building a culturally and geographically diverse movement for all American Latinxs.”

It was a privilege to gather with my SF Heritage predecessors Desiree Aranda and Laura Dominguez, who helped co-found LHC and now sit on its board of directors. In a session focused on the organization’s history and mission, Desiree described how, after attending a gathering hosted by Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation (APIAHiP), she and Laura started envisioning what a network of Latinx heritage might look like, which set them on the road to what is now LHC. To me, this story exemplified how those taking charge of preserving the places important to their communities are inspiring one another, and the how gatherings like Congreso and APIA Historic Preservation Forum are providing crucial spaces for knowledge-sharing.

Issues facing Latinx place-based advocacy, Desiree enumerated, include practitioners working in silos, communities facing displacement, and Latinx sites not being recognized locally and nationally. LHC is already doing much to alleviate these issues and has more exciting things to come. This year, Sehila Mota Casper became LHC’s first official director and paid employee, after years of being a 100% volunteer-run organization.

Below are just a few scenes and reflections from my time at this exciting and inspiring gathering:

Posing with LHC co-founder Desiree Aranda (left).

Ladies of LHC: Valerie Delgadillo, Tiffany Narváez, and Sara Delgadillo.

Moving exhibits about El Movimiento & The Borderlands (in English and Spanish) at host-site History Colorado spotlighted stories of women amid the shifting geopolitical history of southern Colorado.

In her opening remarks, Executive Director of History Colorado Dawn diPrince highlighted the need to diversify state and national registers, citing a significant disparity between cultural group populations and their proportionate representation on the National Register of Historic Places. Likewise, only 3.9% of Denver’s state register focuses on BIPOC communities or women.

Desiree Aranda names a few examples of work around the country that have laid the groundwork for LHC’s Latinx preservation efforts, including SF Heritage’s 2013 Calle 24: Cuentos del Barrio.

  • Several speakers highlighted the importance of preserving legacy businesses and fostering community and culture through food and drink. In “Innovative Strategies to Preserve Denver’s Latino/a Heritage,” Northside Councilperson Amanda Sandoval talked about supporting Latinx legacy businesses amidst increasing gentrification and displacement, especially when many longtime business owners do not own their buildings, and in “Regional Perspectives: Cultural Landscapes, Environment, and Conservation,” the City of Tuscon’s Lane Santa Cruz talked about working with longtime business owners to protect and preserve Latino culinary heritage. Newer Latinx-owned businesses in Denver like Raíces Brewery are intentionally creating spaces for the community to gather, and VP of Development Tamil Maldonado shared the business’s goal of becoming a reference center for those interested in learning about Latin culture.


Lane Santa Cruz from the City of Tucson spoke about community challenges that came with Tucson being named UNESCO’s very first “City of Gastronomy” in 2015. This includes rising costs, leading to an increased risk of displacement for local Latinx legacy businesses. Similar to efforts in San Francisco to help preserve legacy businesses, Santa Cruz is working on creating micro loans for businesses and a model for supporting workers to carry on legacy businesses. La Doce Barrio Foodways and a Food Business Land Trust are other community-led initiatives in Tucson that are solutions for community agency. 

Dr. Sarah Bronin introduces former Secretary of the Interior and current Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, who addressed Congreso attendees virtually from Mexico City. When it comes to retaining identity, Salazar emphasized how “indifference is our greatest enemy.”

Lucha Martinez de Luna on preserving community murals in what is now La Alma Lincoln Park Cultural District.

  • In “Innovative Strategies to Preserve Denver Latino/a Heritage,” Lucha Martinez de Luna talked about the rich history of murals painted by the community in Denver’s La Alma-Lincoln Park. Painted starting in the 1960s, many are threatened and have been painted over, and the Chican@ Murals Project is actively working to preserve the murals that remain. Only a few days ago, on May 4, 2022, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named “Chicano/a/x community murals across Colorado” one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2022, which will bring crucial visibility to this community effort.


  • Discussions covered local and national Latinx documentation projects, including the National Park Service’s Latino Theme Study and the City of Denver’s Nuestra Historias Context Study. In discussing the latter, Jenny Buddenborg reinforced the importance of historic context statements in helping to recognize places in Denver meaningful to the “Mexican American, Chicano, and Latino” community, and to guide more research and historic preservation work. However, multiple sessions also touched on the fear of documentation work ending up on the shelf and unaccessible. In “American Latino Heritage Initiative Retrospective,” Dr. Antonia Castañeda spoke about how, despite the incredible amount of work that went into the creation of NPS’s Latino Theme Study, the community does not currently know what is being done with it. “These government-led efforts do not necessarily help the community,” she said. She pointed to a historic site survey produced in the 1990s called “Five Views,” which included documentation on 100 sites in California significant to the history of Mexican-Americans. When Dr. Castañeda and her fellow scholars revisited it twenty-five years later in their research for the Theme Study, most of its 100 sites had been lost. However, in “Democratizing and Documenting Latinx Heritage,” Laura Dominguez discussed an LHC initiative called the Abuelas Project that is helping to remedy this accessibility issue. One of the project’s goals, Dominguez said, is creating a clearinghouse “to gather documentation in one place and hold city and state leaders accountable to help use,” including theme studies, surveys, nominations, etc.

Laura Dominguez on the beginnings of LHC’s Abuelas Project, a multi-year preservation initiative to collect, curate, and amplify stories about places that matter to Latinx communities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico: “We wanted to create an accessible archive.” 

Raúl Grijalva, Third Congressional District of Arizona and Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee: “The role of historic preservation is to keep truth alive…there is nothing wrong with letting that truth be told..as our [Latinos] role increases, so does our responsibility.”

Words from several speakers highlighted learnings and challenges in their work.

On what can other communities learn from their projects:

Jenny Buddenborg: Historic context statements assist in citywide surveys, and can be replicated in other communities. Community engagement undertaken in Denver’s survey can also be replicated.

Annie Levinsky, Historic Denver: “The community is fatigued. The [La Alma-Lincoln Park] historic district was a five year process, but we have to find ways to take burden off communities… we can’t expect people who have jobs and lives to dedicate the time to these efforts.” Cultural district efforts have been more successful as it’s more of a community effort rather than fighting individual buildings.

Lucha Martinez: “I would encourage people to slow down, even though there is a sense of urgency and people wanting to be “woke.” If we slow things down, we are going to hear stories we haven’t heard before. If not you will hear from the same people and the same stories…this takes time.”

On getting into leadership positions to affect change:

Amanda Sandoval: “We need champions and awareness in public office to help get things done, and we need more tools in our preservation tool box.”

Belinda Faustinos, a member of the American Latino Scholars Expert Panel that advised the creation of NPS’s Latino Theme Study: “Until you are in the position to make sure that change can happen, it can’t happen…you need to find the champions that can help get things done…need to influence local officials to affect change.”

Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, also on the expert panel: “By changing the board you change the policy.”

Dr. Antonia: “The local level is the first level of resistance…most people are not trained in historic preservation, so it’s a challenge. We have to educate people who work for the city, state, etc.”

Beatriz Soto, Protégete, Conservation Colorado: “We need faces like ours in decision-making bodies. Look at the boards and commissions in your town, your expertise is needed, we need the leadership of Latinos. It’s not just running for office…yes YOU have the expertise.”

Ean Tafoya of Green Latinos: “I agree that people should try to get on boards, but also these people need to be paid. People deserve to be compensated. We created an environmental justice fund -though small, it’s a symbol of support for community. We paid people for focus groups. These consultants for government get paid thousands of dollars for the same poor work, and they then say “who should I reach out to?” Are we going to keep hiring the same consultants? Maybe it’s not just Latinos you have to reach out to to get across the finish line, you need to reach across cultural groups to create allies.”

On intangible cultural heritage:

  • A focus of the sessions was Denver’s La Alma-Lincoln Park, the city’s newest historic cultural district and a milestone on the local level for preserving Denver’s Latino/a and Chicano/a heritage. One of Denver’s oldest residential neighborhoods, it was home to many important events and leaders connected to the Chicano Movement. In “Innovative Strategies to Preserve Denver Latino/a Heritage,” Historic Denver’s Annie Levinsky talked about how the period of significance for the district, 1870s-1980, which is unusually long in order to cover the wide range of architectural and cultural histories there. Community engagement included creating flyers to distribute throughout the community, and Historic Denver hired consultants to create a context statement for community. The organization partnered with the City of Denver to write the application for cultural district designation; predating this was work to revise historic designation guidelines to include cultural significance. The Lincoln Park area had been surveyed before, but like many San Francisco city landmarks and historic districts, documentation focused mainly on architecture and not on sites of cultural significance to the Latino community. Keys to the cultural district’s success included:
    • Deep outreach and community partnerships
    • Long period of significance (1870-1980)
    • Inclusive interpretation of integrity (include all the layers of change on buildings, that is how community used the buildings!)
    • Application of new cultural significance criteria
    • Development of custom design guidelines that embrace the layers of change (so community could continue to use the buildings as they want to be used)

Annie Levinsky: “We can bend preservation tools to have them do what the community wants them to do…we learned that the tools didn’t bend as much as we had hoped to protect murals in La Alma-Lincoln Park, but it moved the needle.” 

Exploring La Alma-Lincoln Park was one of two field sessions offered to Congreso attendees, and I enjoyed going out into the sunshine for a special walking tour with Levinsky and other speakers.

Lucha Martinez de Luna describing an endangered mural on the side of Denver Inner City Parish, across the street from La Alma-Lincoln Park.

The family of La Alma Lincoln Park resident Cathy Prieto welcomed the LHC group to their home with water, pan dulce, and other sweet breads.

Lucha Martinez describes the “La Alma” mural, a centerpiece of the local park that was painted by her father Emanuel Martinez in 1978.

Finding a small mural in La Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood depicting the concha (“shell” in Spanish), a symbol used by LHC for its logo.

Overall, Congreso exemplified the importance and urgent need to preserve and protect the heritage of our country’s cultural communities, including Latinx communities. The conference, as LHC’s board co-chair Dr. Sarah Gould asserted at the gathering’s opening, is about “asserting our rights of belonging,” and Congreso’s sessions illuminated the role that historic preservation is playing and can play in these efforts. Congratulations to LHC for organizing a fantastic gathering!

Gratitude shared with new LHC Executive Director Sehila Mota Casper, at Congreso’s closing reception at the Museum de las Americas in Denver. 

With new friends including Roselia Banuelos and Mikaela Selly.

Ten New Business Added to the Legacy Business Registry


Congratulations to the ten businesses added to the San Francisco Legacy Business Registry yesterday! SF Heritage thanks Supervisor Aaron Peskin for continuing to support this important preservation program. Each business was approved by the Small Business Commission (SBC) at its April 25 meeting: 

Buddha Lounge, Inc.

Buena Vista Cafe

Far East Cafe

Helmand Palace

Latin Jewelers

Paxton Gate

Sai’s Vietnamese Restaurant

San Francisco Carts and Concessions, Inc.

Small Frys Children’s Store

Valentino Market

You may view each of these business’s applications here. Approval by the SBC is the final step in a business’s journey to joining the Legacy Business Registry, a process that includes a nomination by the mayor or a member of the Board of Supervisors, a written application, and an advisory recommendation from the Historic Preservation Commission.

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San Francisco’s legacy businesses are the special watering holes, bookstores, restaurants, organizations, and practitioners that serve as valuable cultural assets to the city and are the bedrock of our neighborhoods. The Legacy Business Fund has not kept pace with need in recent years, and SF Heritage was proud to support the successful push for more resources for this important program.

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