Restoration Of The Great Wall Of Los Angeles

In the 25 years since the completion of the Great Wall, SPARC has completed over a hundred murals, both in collaboration with local communities and solely by artist Judith F. Baca. But the sun, the water of the wash, and graffiti were wearing down on the Great Wall, calling back SPARC a few years ago to restore its luster. The Wall was in disrepair, some sections faded, others infested with spiders, and delamination throughout its entirety, where large sections of paint had cracked or caked off.

Challenged with fundraising - $100 per square foot - they sought after donations and grants both large and small, attained primarily through the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Ford Foundation.

Students from Baca's UCLA courses, friends of SPARC, and the original volunteers joined in the efforts to restore the Great Wall. Working throughout the summer in the trench of the Tujunga Wash, the crew cleaned the walls and repaired missing chunks before the painting began. Pigments and paints were researched for luminosity and UV protection to ensure a longer life span. Over three summers, from cleaning to painting, the Wall was restored, and in some sections, enhanced with updated imagery.


Carlos Rogel: Improvements in Mural Production
SPARC Project Manager Carlos Rogel explains the advances in paint chemistry that contributed to the restoration.


Carlos Callejo: Returning to The Great Wall
Original Great Wall painter Carlos Callejo describes how he ended up back on the restoration crew.


Holly Crawford: Defining Public Art
Artist Holly Crawford talks about how Judith Baca and the Great Wall helped her find her way into public art.


Adriana Macias
UCLA student Adriana Macias details how she grew up near the Great Wall and her passion for being a member of the restoration team.



Story continues below

We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading