Into the Light

Into the Light mural
Hormel Center
James Hormel LGBTQIA Center Mural - Into the Light

List of names featured in the mural

  • Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.), Athenian philosopher

  • Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.E.), Macedonian general, ruler

  • Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 B.C.E.- C.E. 18), Roman poet

  • Hadrian (Publius Aelius Hadrian, C. E. 76-138), Roman ruler

  • Richard I (The Lion Heart, 1157-1199), British ruler

  • Rumi (Jelal al-Din, 1207-1273), Persian poet, mystic

  • Hafiz (Shams ud-Din Mohammed, d. 1389?), Persian poet

  • Donatello (Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardo, 1386-1466), Italian sculptor

  • Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian artist, inventor, scientist

  • Vasco de Gama (1460-1524), Portuguese admiral, explorer

  • Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), Italian statesman, philosopher

  • Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Italian artist

  • Raphael (Raphael Santi, 1483-1520), Italian artist

  • Correggio (Antonio Allegri Correggio, 1494-1534), Italian artist

  • Suleiman I (1494-1566), Turkish sultan

  • Cellini (Benvenuto Cellini, 1500-1571), Italian sculptor, writer

  • Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1569-1609), Italian artist

  • Frederick the Great (1712-1786), Prussian ruler

  • Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), British writer

  • Walt Whitman (1819-1892), U.S poet

  • Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), British nurse, reformer

  • Karl Ulrichs (1825-1895), German lawyer, sociologist, reformer

  • Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), U.S. poet

  • Seiku Okuhara (1837-1913), Japanese poet

  • Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Russian composer

  • We'Wha (Two-Spirit, 1849-1896) Zuni weaver, potter

  • Oscar Wilde (1856-1900), Irish writer

  • Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935), German sociologist

  • Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French writer

  • Willa Cather (1873-1947), U.S. writer

  • Colette (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette Goudeket, 1873-1954), French writer

  • Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), U.S.-born writer, patron of the arts

  • Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), U.S. choreographer, dancer

  • Wanda Landowska (1879-1959), Polish musician

  • Aaron Copland (1900-1991), U.S. composer

  • Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986), English-born U.S. writer

  • Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Mexican painter

  • W.H. Auden (Wystan Hugh Auden, 1907-1973), British poet, critic, scholar

  • Jean Genet (1910-1986), French writer

  • Bayard Rustin (1910-1987), U.S. political activist

  • Francis Bacon (1910-1992), Irish-born British painter

  • Tennessee Williams (1911-1985), U.S. playwright

  • Benjamin Britten (1913-1977), British composer

  • Carson McCullers (1917-1967), U.S. writer

  • James Baldwin (1924-1988), U.S. writer

  • Yukio Mishima (Kimitake Hiraoka, 1925-1970), Japanese writer

  • Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965), U.S. playwright

  • Harvey Milk (1930-1978), U.S. politician, political activist

  • Manuel Puig (1932-1990), Argentine writer

  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992), U.S. writer

  • Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), Cuban-born U.S. writer

  • Randy Shilts (1951-1994), U.S. journalist, writer

Into the Light is the trompe l'oeil mural created especially for the ceiling of the LGBTQIA Center by Mark Evans and Charley Brown. The design took a year and a half to evolve, and the executions involved a process rarely used in this country in which the canvas was covered with a mix of marble dust and polymers to create a smooth, plaster-like surface, over which aluminum leaf was then applied.

Working in their studio from November 1995 to March 1996 on a semi-circular canvas at a time, the artists used a thick, viscous brown paint employing many techniques involving rags, hands, and thousands of Q-tips to achieve the mural's luminous shades of burnt umber on silver leaf. The two halves of the 22 foot diameter circular canvas were rolled out and glued to the Center's ceiling on March 13, 1996.

The mural depicts an allegorical construction site in which men, women, and children are working together to move from the darkness of ignorance into the light of knowledge. Photographing friends and colleagues as models, the artists then altered the figures to render them largely unrecognizable. The only figures intended by the artists to be identifiable are the likenesses of James C. Hormel, for whom the center is named, and Ayse and Robert Kenmore, whose generosity made the mural possible.

The blocks creating the structure bear the names of prominent historical figures from various countries and time periods who are known to have same-sex relationships. The names were chosen by the artists from lists compiled by the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Task Force of the American Library Association and made available by the San Francisco Public Library staff.