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Johanna Poethig

Joanna Poethig is a visual and performance artist who has been creating public art for more than 20 years. One of her most famous murals appeared on the wall of the Harvey Milk Rec Center in Duboce Park in San Francisco in 1988 (below). It was one of the first public tributes to Harvey Milk--the late San Francisco Supervisor known for his wry wit and gifts as an organizer and coalition builder whose career is chronicled in the 2008 commercially released film "Milk"--after he was assassinated in 1978.

The mural, created on a very limited budget and an even more limited timeframe, drew fanfare at its unveiling. Poethig has said the mural depicts Milk "painted in his victory pose on top of the image of himself dressed as a clown, with his beloved dog in the foreground. The other figures represent the activities at the recreation center."

Due to damage from the 20 years in the sun and lack of proper care, the mural will soon be painted over by the City of San Francisco.

Poethig's murals can be seen in various cities across the United States and the world, including Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santiago de Cuba, and San Leandro, CA.

Her approach to art is both cunning and participatory. She has poked fun at stereotypes of women through her work in the Gutter Gals art collective and through such installations as "The Untouchables: Trophy Wives," a doll collection set atop the traditional wood or metal-and-marble award pedestals. One other trademark of her career in creation of art is participation of students, community members, and neighbors, a tradition that has included women in prison and reentering the outside world involved in making posters and local children in the decoration of their playground.

She is currently on the faculty of the Visual and Public Art Institute at California State University, Monterey Bay. More information about Poethig and her work can be found here.


Past Progressive Victory Artists of the Month

* Kimberly Roberts
* Charlene Strong
* Dan Guerrero
* E. Ethelbert Miller
* MaryBeth Guinan

* Ron Edwards
* Erik Sosa
* Elise Bryant
* Corey Gammel & Peter Marquez
* Jeri Riggs
* Robert Shetterly

* Judy Chicago
* Naomi Shihab Nye