Reclaiming The City


By the late 1960s and '70s Highland Park was home to a large number of Mexican immigrant families, making it a second- and third-generation Mexican-American barrio that sat within the City of Los Angeles. According to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Victor Valle, "[Highland Park] was... one stop on the journey to reclaim, at least imaginarily, the whole city as a Latino domain, or as Luis Valdez puts in his play and movie Zoot Suit, 'the brown metropolis of los ese.'"

The murals, writings and ephemera created by artists, thinkers and activists in the area prefigured a symbolic occupation of the city, or, as some historian and cultural critics have put it, the gradual Latinoization of Los Angeles.

Mural was designed by Pola Lopez and Heriberto Luna, and created in collaboration with LA Commons.


Reclaiming the City
Joe Rodriguez describes the democratic approach towards creating murals and the legacy of the Chicano Art Movement in the 1970s.


A Social Movement
Guillermo Bejerano explains the role of public art in the marginalized Hispanic community of Los Angeles.


The Experience of Muralism
John Valadez comments on the ephemeral nature of murals and the significance of the collective experience in creating them.


Tackling Social Issues
Patricia Parra speaks about how artists and organizations in Highland Park worked for a better quality of life for their community.


The Decline of Murals
John Valadez explains how murals, originally a form of neighborhood expression, were appropriated by commercial artists to sell products.


Preserving Murals
Judithe Hernandez addresses the shift in attitude toward public art in Los Angeles.


Youth Without Identity
Leo Limon describes the loss of respect for public art by disenfranchised youth.


Attacking Murals

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