<- back

Blooming on Fragrance Alley

Youth Create Mosaic Mural in San Francisco Chinatown's Hang An Alley


San Francisco, CA

The completed mural and the team who made it happen.

Tagging has defaced many murals in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) youth intentionally selected a mosaic tile muralist to collaborate with, to create a piece that was easy to maintain and to prevent graffiti.  “Blooming on Fragrance Alley” is the result of the youth, with artist Margarita Soyfertis, and the property owner collaboration.  A dozen youths from Chinatown CDC’s Adopt An Alleyway and Youth for SRO programs explored the history and stories of the alleyway, decided on a concept, composed the design, and laid out the tiles. The garden-flower theme references the meaning of the alley’s Chinese name “Hang Ah,” meaning “Fragrance,” as the alley once housed a number of perfumeries.The mural’s concept seeks to open up the tight alleyway space by providing a three-dimensional perspective of the scenery, viewed through the artwork’s window and moon gate openings. 

Since 2008, CCDC youth have spearheaded a “Public Art in Alley” series as a key component complementing the ongoing Chinatown Alleyway Master Plan and renovation. Youth have also completed a mural in Jack Keroauc Alley with artist Robert Minervini, a Keywords Studio exhibit at Ross Alley with artist Xu Tan, and murals in Wentworth Alley with Margarita Soyfertis and Justin Hoover in partnership with Chinese Culture Center.

Margarita Soyfertis

Work in progress, the youth carefully setting each tile