Fine Decorative Paintings
Mr. Greben understood the power and importance of what he witnessed that day in the cooperate spirit of the young painters. He began a course of action that led to the first City of Los Angeles citywide mural program, making me director of a burgeoning murals program in the predominantly Mexican Eastside of Los Angeles. Freed from my more conventional teaching by the General Manager, I began to work full-time with the youth of East Los Angeles, called by neighborhood youth to work at various sites. Three years later, I initiated a proposal to the Los Angeles City Council that became the first citywide mural program. More than 400 mural productions were supported through the Citywide Murals Program under the Department of Recreation and Parks before the program was disbanded. Scaffolding, paints, youth apprentices and stipends were distributed by the small staff of Eastside youth from previous mural crews whom I hired to run the program, supporting hundreds of mural sites in every community of the city.
Within the first year of the Citywide Murals Program, censorship problems arose as communities began to identify issues affecting their lives. Because the program was under the auspices of a city department, local officials tried to exert influence on works that were created within their districts, threatening to withhold funds for the entire citywide program under their purview. One Council member, realizing the popularity of the murals, asked to have his own portrait painted on a highly visible public street to help insure his re-election. Controversies continued to arise, of course, and interestingly, the themes that provoked outrage from officials and conservative elements of our city remain controversial today.
It was for this reason that the “Friends of the Citywide Mural Program,” a group of supporters – including attorneys called to defend the often-besieged program – decided to form a nonprofit corporation called the Social and Public Art Resource Center, now celebrating its 25th anniversary. In collaboration with members of the City Council who felt that freedom of speech was essential for the expanding mural movement, they encouraged the founding of SPARC as an arts organization that could carry out mural programs in such a way as to animate public discourse and free expression of the diverse communities of the city without direct official intervention.
The first project of the new nonprofit organization the Social and Public Art Resource Center was the Great Wall of Los Angeles mural. Having worked on murals across the 75-mile expanse of the city through the Citywide Mural Program, I was called to a local site not far from my hometown in Pacoima. The site was a concrete flood-control channel built by the Army Corps of Engineers. Once an arroyo (a dirt ravine cut by river water), the Tujunga Wash was an ugly concrete dividing line within the community with a belt of arid dirt running along either side. The Wash is in Studio City, a few miles north of Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley.
Get More information: Fine Decorative Paintings