The Beginning: How The Great Wall Of Los Angeles Was Conceived | KCET
The Beginning: How The Great Wall Of Los Angeles Was Conceived
The idea for the Great Wall of Los Angeles germinated from the social, environmental, and cultural aspirations that the city and its inhabitants have experienced throughout its history. In the late 1960s, murals in Los Angeles connected with disenfranchised communities that were long bereft of the resources to occupy public consciousness. The murals became symbols of cultural affirmation, improved neighborhood aesthetics, and provided a platform for communities to engage in public discourse.
Linking these aims was the guiding principle of the social mural movement that emerged in Mexico in the 1920s: to create public art with a social and ideological function. Taking inspiration, in 1971 artist Judith F. Baca co-founded the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), an organization devoted to producing, preserving, and conducting education programs on community based public art. The organization's first project, and one that would begin a collaborative effort that would last well into the next century, was the Great Wall of Los Angeles.
Touted as the longest mural in the world, the Great Wall was initially a beautification project proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1974. Under the direction of Baca, the mural transformed into a bold illustration of the history of California from the state's prehistoric past to the struggles of its ethnic minorities for civil rights and equality. Completed over five summers, the Great Wall grips 2, 754 feet, roughly half a mile, of vertical concrete lining the Tujunga Flood Control Channel in the San Fernando Valley. An expedition of over 400 youths and artists descended into the channel each year to paint thousands of feet of multi-cultural history; a narrative that had never before been achieved on such a public and prominent canvas.
Debra Padilla: The Wall
"Every mural in this city tells a particular story, a particular moment in time."
Judith F. Baca: About SPARC
"The murals were integral to Venice. SPARC was right here doing the work and transforming our jail from a place of oppression to a kind spot of liberation, the spot of hope."
Sonya Fe: Lifelong Investment
Artist Sonya Fe tells of her role on the Great Wall project and the audacity of the mural's narrative.
Joe Bravo: Reconnecting for Restoration
Original SPARC employee Joe Bravo speaks about his involvement in converting the old Venice Jailhouse, how he reconnected with Judith F. Baca to restore the Great Wall, and addresses the history of Highland Park murals.
What is nature? Evan Meyer of UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden; Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, disability justice and culture expert; and Rebeca Méndez, a designer and artist whose work addresses climate change, tackle this complex topic.
On Tuesday, November 6th around 80 community members passionate in learning more about California’s recycling industry attended SoCal Connected’s screening/panel discussion of “Life in Plastic: California’s Recycling Woes” at the Pasadena Public Library.
Exactly 25 years ago, 59% of California voters passed the “Save Our State” initiative, better known as Proposition 187, which called for throwing undocumented children out of schools and hospitals and for teachers and nurses to become de-facto immigration
Noah Baumbach’s ‘Marriage Story’ Takes The Audience On An Emotional Journey at the Winter KCET Cinema Series
After the screening, KCET Cinema Series host Pete Hammond conversed with director Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern, and producer David Heyman.
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