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Call it "Going Back to The Freeway."
Frank Romero's 1984 mural overlooking the Hollywood Freeway, "Going to the Olympics," is the next major work mural being restored by the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, announced Isabel Rojas-Williams, MCLA's Executive Director. "Today we were finally able to begin the process officially. The restoration will take approximately 10 weeks," Rojas-WIlliams said on Wednesday. All parties had agreed that restoration would begin November 26, but was delayed because of weather.
After Romero's mural was painted over in 2007, Glenna Boltuch Avila's "L.A. Freeway Kids" and Willie Herrón III's "Luchas del Mundo" were next to go. The loss of these works made the debate about the value of these Los Angeles murals louder.
Willie Herrón III is also the muralist who recently led MCLA's restoration of "L.A. Freeway Kids," and will oversee "Going to the Olympics" as a commission.
As it happened, in 2007, I was in the City Hall observation deck taking a photo of Union Station and saw that Romeo's mural was missing.
I wrote: " ['Going to the Olympics'] is painted over in solid coats of Caltrans gray and judging by the paint, it looks like it was an official wipe-out. Located alongside the 101, they were important enough be conserved, but evidently the constant tagging made it too costly to consider restoring them yet again."
As for "Going to the Olympics," it is part of MCLA's mission to have as many murals from the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival, a Los Angeles civic program timed with the 1984 Olympics, be restored in time for the 30th Anniversary of the games in 2014.
MCLA credits private donors, along with funding from a DCA Grant, fees from mural lectures, and tours by MCLA, for making this next restoration possible.
Top: "Going to the Olympics" Courtesy of the MCLA.