Juana Alicia Araiza

The Chicano mural movement began in the 1960s in Mexican-American barrios throughout the Southwest. Artists began using the walls of city buildings, housing projects, schools, and churches to depict Mexican-American culture.  Chicano muralism has been linked to pre-Columbian peoples of the Americas, who recorded their rituals and history on the walls of their pyramids, and Mexican revolutionary-era painters José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaros Siquieros, collectively known as los tres grandes, whose work is well-known in Europe, the United States and of course Mexico.

During the Chicano social and cultural movement that occurred throughout the Southwest in the 1960s and 1970s, mural production became part of the effort of Latinos to reinvigorate their cultural heritage, affirm cultural identity, and challenge racism.

Juana Alicia Araiza began painting murals as a teenager, over four decades ago.  She learned from other Chicano/a muralists, her peers (Mujeres Muralistas, Eduardo Castillo, Cruz Zamarrón), and Mexican artists such as Alfredo Zalce.  In the 1980s and 90s, she apprenticed with Diego Rivera’s assistant fresco artists, Lucienne Bloch and Stephan Dimitriov.  Her adult work evolved on the streets of the Mission District of San Francisco, the Latino neighborhood that has been home to a mural renaissance since the 1970s.  Juana has been teaching mural painting since 1981.

As a master artist in ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2013, Juana shared with her apprentice Cece Carpio the significance and power of public visual art as a tool towards social justice.