The Mothers Building: Photography by Richard Rothm
The Mothers Building was built in 1925 by architect George Kelham for philanthropists Herbert and Mortimer Fleishhacker on land that is now part of the San Francisco Zoo. Starting in 1933, WPA artists Helen Forbes and Dorothy W. Pucinelli painted four murals inside the building, depicting the story of Noah and the Ark; this theme of renewal struck a hopeful chord during the Great Depression. The two mosaics on the outside of the building were completed by sisters Helen, Margaret and Ester Bruton. This is the only building in San Francisco where all of the WPA art work was created by women artists. The Mothers Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Since 2002, the building has been closed to the public due to deteriorating conditions. Community activist Rich Rothman has been working to restore the building and WPA artwork, raising public awareness through his photographs. This exhibit gives a rare look at murals that are not currently available to the public.