Making and & Unveiling of The Duboce Bikeway Mural
This was Mona’s first mural. It was unveiled on November 21st, 1998. A hot air balloon company donated 6000 square feet of red fabric for a spectacular unveiling designed by Mona’s father, the swiss theater set designer Peter Bissegger.
With the tug of a single string, and with a musical flourish by Peter Jaques’ klezmer band, all the sheets of red fabric dropped simultaneously to the crowd’s cheers and bicycle bells ringing.
How the mural came to be:
Peter Tannen, the City planner in charge of the newly established City’s Bike Plan, was the originator of the mural idea. Having succeeded in bringing about the first conversion of a city street into a bikeway, he wrote into the budget the creation of a mural, to render this a place worthy of note. The San Francisco Bicycle coalition was put in charge of organizing the mural.
Joel Pomerantz invited Mona Caron, an illustration student at the time, to act as the lead artist for this project. He had been active with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition since its founding in 1991, and in 1996 he volunteered to coordinate the mural project on the SFBC’s behalf.
The topics and ideas generated by a series of brainstorming meetings with the bike community supplied mural design’s content. While Mona designed, Joel rounded up the support of numerous entities such as Muni, Safeway, PG&E, S.F.Community Recyclers, the Haight Ashbury and Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Associations, to name a few, as well as countless individuals who helped logistically in one way or another.
Once the wall was ready to paint, in June 1998, Joel coordinated scores of drop-in volunteers for painting and other necessary tasks, and Mona gradually gathered a core group of artists to help with the parts of the mural that required higher artistic skill.
Gordon Dean, a freelance illustrator whom Mona knew from the Academy of Art, was the first to join Mona. Other artists, some of whom joined in on a whim, later became part of the art team, which grew to include, in addition to Mona and Gordon: Bill Stender, Mary Anderson, Seth Damm and Mike Rousseau.
During the 5 months of painting, changes were made to the design: sometimes they were due to esthetic decisions, other times they were a direct result from feedback by community members, other times still they came out of new inspiration and ideas from conversations within the art team.