Mission Arts Performance Project

Author: Ariana Cisneros

The Mission Arts Performance Project is a live performance event occurring every other month on the first Saturday. Originally envisioned as an event to “[take] over spaces, and for one beautifully chaotic evening, [transform] them into whatever we want”, MAPP encompasses multiple venues a night, as well as a diverse cast of performers.

Venues are decided on through submission to the MAPP committee. Each venue sets up a schedule of performers through an in-house curator, so each performance lineup is unique and specific to their location. Due to the mission of freely inhabiting many spaces, MAPP events are centered around a varietal cornucopia of cultural centers, bookstores, arthouses, and other unorthodox settings.

Started twelve years ago in the Mission, MAPP has, and still does, feature core groups of artists, musicians, filmmakers, and poets that have embodied the spirit of the Mission as a multicultural arts community. On the night of events, audience members are given a map of the venues and the featured performances at each. Performances are spaced so that an audience member can either choose to sample all the venues in the night, (each location a walkable distance from all the others), or simply stay in one venue as long as they choose. Each MAPP event will feature often a political theme for the night. The August Mapp for 2017 fell on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and was dedicated to memorializing the victims of the bomb as well as addressing “increased militarization around the world”. Although the theme dominates some venues, because the curator sets up their own venue each MAPP, the performances themselves may vary.

Due to the MAPP originally being predominantly oriented around Latino art spaces, such as Precita Eyes, the Women's Building, and The Mission Cultural Center, venues themselves are often well known places for community engagement for residents, particularly in the Latino community. Precita Eyes, an educational nonprofit for visual artists, is responsible for many of the distinctive murals the Mission district is famous for, such as the “MaestraPeace” mural of the Women's Building, painted in 1994 by local female muralists Juana Alicia, Miranda Bergman, Edyth Boone, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton and Irene Perez. The Mission Cultural Center, a venue that the MAPP has featured since its conception, acts gallery space, offers workshops in art and performance, as well as youth after school and summer programs. The Mission Cultural Center also hosts annual Day of the Dead celebrations in November. Many of the MAPP performers, who teach, collaborate, or perform in these locations, discuss tenuous political situations regarding immigration, law enforcement, and the gentrification of the Mission causing displacement of local artists and families. Performance locations and their lineup may vary based on the curator's decision—Red Poppy's Dina Zharif, for August, dubbed her location “Music of the Dammed”, and featured live Kurdish, traditional Persian, fusion Persian, Greek, and Turkish music.

The MAPP is a great way for Mission residents to not only meet their neighbors, but get a sense of the deep cultural history of the Mission and how the arts community collaborates together to create original artwork. Because the MAPP is free and/or requests a suggested donation (depending on the venue), audience members are encouraged to get to venues early.