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Best New Mission Mural San Francisco 2008 - El Arroyo Laundromat

The owners of the Laundromat came from Mexico, carrying with them stories about a small river, or arroyo, in their former town. Artist Ernesto Paul used those tales about the cultural myths and community activities that sprang from the river, which all come alive on the western wall of the Laundromat, facing Harrison. The scope of the panoramic view of the river of life flowing to the sea is striking. From left to right, the mural moves from Aztec to colonial to revolutionary times. While many Mission murals focus on the current or the political, this art gently puts us in reverse by portraying the history of a Mexican community that fishes, grows crops, and washes clothes by the river. First, take in the wide shot of the colorful scene, but then focus on the details to suss out the stories. Spot the tree bridge spanning the river and historical cultures, Aztec rituals, gossiping women, and armed caballeros. Paul shows us how a wall can actually be a window into cultural history. And it's something worthwhile to admire between the wash and dry cycles.

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