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The Community, the City, our Students, and a local Muralist have Created a beautiful Public Mural

Feb 09, 2011 by Lisa Newton

While writing stories about the Alvarado Terrace Historic District, I discovered a wonderful and colorful mural.

This pristine, colorful and vibrant mural is part of the multi-cultural expressionism living in Los Angeles has come to mean in so many different ways and I feel that it’s representative of how public murals can be maintained.

For years, the LIUNA Local 300’s outside wall was host to a graffiti war.

Each night, taggers from rival gangs would come and deface the large blank wall that faces this 2000 block of Pico Boulevard.

Tired of cleaning up this mess every day, in 2007, union officials asked Councilman Ed Reyes’ office if there was any money in the budget for a mural.

I don’t know the budget allocated for this, but I do know that much of the work was actually donated by nearby students–lead by the accomplished muralist, John Zender, who so happened to be the artist responsible for this particular mural. With over 150 murals painted city wide, Zender is one of LA’s leading LA muralists working today.

But, that’s not the end of the story.

Over the years, Zender has worked with many students to help bring art to them; and out of them. How inspiring!

Today, Zender teaches “Urban Art” every Sunday at the Santana House, in East LA.

What was a bit unusual about this particular mural entitled, “Aztecs Rising,” is that the artist actually was being directed by a student.

The original design for this mural was originally created by the student, Stephanie Argueta. After Zender adopted his version of Stephanie’s design, subsequently he, along with several students ended up creating a work of art and vision for everybody here. Representing the community’s multiculturalism, the mural features flags of several countries including; Mexico, Greece, Cuba, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The students who assisted him are:

  • Sear
  • Cero
  • Drone
  • Spirit
  • Ankore
  • Agro
  • Darcy
  • Jessica
  • Lia

And in case anyone’s curious how they keep this special mural from being tagged?

Although this mural has never been tagged in a big way, it has been tagged a few times. However, thanks to a unique wax coating added to the mural, the city only needs to apply a blast of heat pressure to wash away any tagging then they only have to re-wax the mural once again.

The end result is a win/win scenario for the neighborhood, the participating kids, John Zender, public art vis-a-vis a beautiful mural and the city.

Not to mention that we all benefit from the extra effort of a few individuals dedicated to making this a more beautiful city by those above for no payment except their talent, drive, and community esprit de corps.

Lastly, we are the beneficiaries of the city, the students, their teacher, with a gorgeous and multi-layered colorful textured mural to be enjoyed every single day.

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Art, Culture, Family, Los Angeles, SoCal
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