Echo Park 'Quinceañera' Mural To Be Saved

Quinceañera at Logan near Sunset | Photo by Yosuke Kitazawa
The pink dress had a rough weekend, but it will be mended.

Echo Park's mural "Quinceañera," a 1996 work by Theresa Powers, was seen being sandblasted off the former Pescado Mojado restaurant Friday, prompting an online firestorm by mural activists.

It will be recovered, now say those working on the wall.

Jimmy and Enrique Ramirez are renovating the building at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street to house a new Señor Fish. They contacted Powers Thursday to ask if she wanted the mural to be saved.

Powers surrendered the mural that, with an open sight line thanks to a parking lot across the street, has been a visible community landmark documenting the rite of passage ritual celebrating a Latina's 15th birthday.

However, Powers had a change of heart and left a voice mail Friday morning, asking the mural to be stay intact. The message was not recovered until mid-day after sandblasting began, explained Jimmy Ramirez Monday morning.

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"We stopped work immediately," he said, even though it left Team Señor Fish hooked and vulnerable to camera phones and social networking speculation. It prompted the offices of Council District 13, Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles to begin stepping in, even as the owners were accordance with VARA and CAPA, the federal and state mandates protecting artists rights.

Renovation to the wall is being worked around the mural at extra cost. "We always respected artists and community," said Jimmy Monday morning, adding that over the weekend talks began with Powers to restore the mural after work on the wall is completed, shelving an initial plan for a new mural.

Señor Fish often host Latino artists in their cafes, and cite they have demonstrated sensitivity to regional culture. "When we took over the building at First and Alameda, we wanted to keep the name Atomic Cafe," said Jimmy of the cafe with an attached bar. The request was denied "so that was that."

Señor Fish may also find itself sharing empathy with displaced artists. METRO Regional Connector Transit Corridor plans include removing them from First and Alameda.

The mural, on Logan, steps from the corner of Sunset, was first painted in 1996 by Powers, assisted by Carolina Flores, and first sponsored by Echo Park Community Pride Committee. Other murals by Powers during a prolific time include Echo Park / The World (1995), Los Feliz Rainforest (1996), and Mountain of Dreams (1995).

Maybe it's a good time to rededicate "Quinceañera," Ramirez said, thinking out loud.

About the Author

Ed Fuentes is an arts journalist, photographer, graphic designer, and digital muralist who covers a variety of topics and geographies in Southern California for KCET.
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