By DK Haas
If you’ve walked or driven by the UCSF Alliance Health Project Services Center at 1930 Market Street, you may have noticed the new mural and paint colors on the building.
The UCSF Alliance Health Project (AHP) has been providing HIV, mental health, and substance use services for 37 years. Founded as the AIDS Health Project during the height of the AIDS pandemic, the organization is one of the city’s queer-centered behavioral health providers. Part of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Alliance Health Project is a stand-alone clinic funded by the City and County of San Francisco, state, and federal contracts and grants.
The mural was commissioned in 2020 with the intention that it represent the collective values of the organization. Staff collaborated on a list of guiding principles and ideals that define AHP to include in the vision for the plan. The published call for submissions asked for a mural that said “lives are transformed here” and which aligned with AHP’s mission to “to support the health and wellness of the LGBTQ and HIV-affected community in constructing healthy and meaningful lives.”
After extensive outreach to local artists, AHP received fourteen proposals. A volunteer jury of three art professionals - Daniele Wohl, Robert Melton, and Jennifer Ferris - narrowed the selections to four finalists. They evaluated the proposals based on alignment with the requested themes and vision, technical ability, and overall design appeal. The winning design was submitted by Seibot and featured their signature rose images.
Seibot is a San Francisco-based non-binary, trans artist who identifies as an “extremely queer, flower boi.” Their mural design aims to express inclusivity, connection, strength, and vulnerability. According to the artist “this project strikes me very personally after the loss of a very close genderqueer friend who died by suicide in 2018.” Among its services, AHP provides crisis intervention and care that is specifically affirming of gender diversity.
According to Seibot, “The flowers conceptually represent the diversity within the community, love, pride, and the beautiful spectrum of everyone seen together. The negative space symbolizes the past, roots, where we’ve come from. The black lines provide the contrast to what is present now, currently, but is also part of us, just like our past is always part of us, even when we grow beyond it, it is what helps make our present beautiful.”
AHP director Lori Thoemmes, LMFT, commented that “the energy, compassion, and artistry of the new exterior is thrilling” and went on to say “I feel so excited to have the building express creativity and community, which is symbolic of what happens inside the building.”
The mural was made possible through the generous donations of private donors and AHP’s annual Misfit Art Auction fundraiser. If you’d like to donate to the Alliance Health Project or to learn about Art for AIDS, the agency’s annual fundraiser, please visit alliancehealthproject.ucsf.edu.
About UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
The UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute are among the nation's foremost resources in the fields of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric mental health. Together they constitute one of the largest departments in the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, with a mission focused on research (basic, translational, clinical), teaching, patient care, and public service.
UCSF Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences conducts its clinical, educational, and research efforts at a variety of locations in Northern California, including Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital; UCSF Medical Centers at Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay, and Mount Zion; UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center; the San Francisco VA Health Care System; UCSF Fresno; and numerous community-based sites around the San Francisco Bay Area.
About the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences
The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, established by the extraordinary generosity of Joan and Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill, brings together world-class researchers with top-ranked physicians to solve some of the most complex challenges in the human brain.
The UCSF Weill Institute leverages UCSF’s unrivaled bench-to-bedside excellence in the neurosciences. It unites three UCSF departments—Neurology, Psychiatry, and Neurological Surgery—that are highly esteemed for both patient care and research, as well as the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a cross-disciplinary alliance of nearly 100 UCSF faculty members from 15 basic-science departments, as well as the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, a multidisciplinary research center focused on finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is exclusively focused on the health sciences and is dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. UCSF Health, which serves as UCSF’s primary academic medical center, includes top-ranked specialty hospitals and other clinical programs, and has affiliations throughout the Bay Area.