'Eternal' Mural on Broadway Meets Its Makers

Calle de la Eternidad.PhotographerHelenLy.jpg
Top photo of "Calle de la Eternidad" by Helen Ly / viewfromaloft

If downtowners see the mural "Calle de la Eternidad" being removed late Monday night, there will be no need to worry. If all goes well, the landmark mural will stay eternal on Broadway.

Photo courtesy Patty Trans/flickr
Photo courtesy Patty Trans/flickr

Friday was the formal introduction of the project to remove and restore the mural, an agreement led by Councilmember José Huizar, teaming up his "Bringing Back Broadway" initiative with developer and architect David L. Gray and SPARC, who led the authorship and production of Johanna Poethig's "Calle de la Eternidad" (Eternity Street) in 1992.

Developer Gray will begin restoring features in the 1911 building by removing the 1950s façade, which at the time was a common way for Broadway's buildings to update their look to compete with a fleeing retail market.

Originally known as the Zobel Building (351-353 Broadway), the original façade was built with windows overlooking Broadway, reports District 14. Similar to Clifton's Cafeteria, another Broadway building undergoing restoration, the 1950s "modern" façade, which once had the name of the Department Store "Graysons," will be removed to expose the windows the original underlying façade.

At the conference, Councilmember José Huizar noted Gray "for reaching out to my office" and "setting a high bar for others in the City" for organizations like SPARC to enable mural restoration.

Joanne Poethig I Photo: Vanessa Coto / viewfromaloft
Joanne Poethig I Photo: Vanessa Coto / viewfromaloft

In 1992 and 1993, "Calle de la Eternidad" mural was painted onto the '50s "modern" façade, and has since become a landmark mural. As covered here, Judy Baca and SPARC digitally scanned the mural and will reinstall it on the building's south facing wall. In an advancement of the renaissance "marouflage" method of applying work to a wall, the digital file will then be restored by Poethig, and then put on a canvas, retouched again by hand, before being relocated to the building.

"Painting this mural on Broadway in the early 1990s was an amazing experience as I swung in the scaffolding above this vibrant street in Downtown Los Angeles," said Poethig, who is thankful the mural will be restored once funding is secured. " 'Calle de la Eternidad' is one of the most important murals of my over three-decade career."


Additional reporting with Vanessa Coto and María Margarita López.