Noe Valley Voice May 2012

Mothers Pop Up on Library Walls

By Corrie M. Anders


Local midwife Maria Iorillo will be among the 56 women pictured in Making Mothers Visible San Francisco, a May 12 exhibition at the Main Library.    Photo courtesy IMOW

Portraits of 56 San Francisco women, including three from Noe Valley, will be on display starting Mother’s Day weekend at a most unusual exhibition venue: the exterior walls of the Main Library building.

Entitled Making Mothers Visible San Francisco, the installation features black-and-white photographs ranging in size from 5 to 15 feet. The public, pop-up display is the creation of the International Museum of Women (IMOW), an online salon based in San Francisco.

The outdoor exhibit “will call attention to and celebrate the vital role that mothers play in San Francisco and communities around the world, and the importance of their health, empowerment, and leadership,” says Clare Winterton, the group’s executive director.

Winterton, an Alvarado Street resident who has lived in Noe Valley for six years, is the proud mother of a 3-year-old daughter, Pearl. Winterton’s portrait will be on display, as will that of midwife Maria Iorillo, founder of Wisewoman Childbirth Traditions on Church Street, and Hoffman Avenue resident Sue Baelen, a midwife with the Bay Area Homebirth Collective.

A trio of volunteer photographers traveled around the city in recent months to take the larger-than-life portraits of moms and midwives. Their works will be wheat-pasted on the library wall and are scheduled to hang until Memorial Day—or until Mother Nature intervenes.

If you miss the show, the images can be seen at the museum’s online exhibition, “MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe,” at

The public festivities get under way at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, when museum staff and volunteers begin to affix the collection onto the walls of the library, located at 100 Larkin St. in the Civic Center. The completion of the installation will be marked at 2 p.m. with a community celebration and speeches.

Many of the mothers will be on hand to share their stories. The family-friendly day will also include free art activities for children and adults. For more information, go to