Press Resources for SPARC’s CityWide Mural Program

For press information, interviews, and more information on the upcoming mural conservations, contact SPARC CityWide Mural Program Project Manager, Carlos Rogel at carlos@SPARCinLA.org.

Please notify SPARC and credit all content and photographs to © SPARC 2015

Conservation of “Return to the Light” by Charles Freeman and the SPARC CityWide Mural Team

Final Photography of Conservation Outcome

Final Photograph of “Return to the Light” by Charles “Boko” Freeman – Photograph © SPARC 2015

“Before” Image Prior to Conservation

Before Photo Assessment in 2014 – Photograph © SPARC

Mural Description

“Return to the Light” by Charles “Boko” Freeman is located at the Carlota Park Apartments, which is and has been a home for low income seniors. Sponsored by SPARC’s Neighborhood Pride Program in 1993, this site is significant for the mural because it is a facility for those who live on the margins. The mural boasts of some very fine portraits. The tromp l’oeil designs frame the figures in the center of the mural. This mural features very prominent Mexican and Chicano historical figures such as Cesar Chavez, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. Additionally, the top of the mural is accentuated by an Olmec head. Furthermore, it depicts two prevalent social ills, senseless killing of young people, and homelessness. The shaman in the center represents a healthy state of wholeness. Cesar Chavez represents vision, being focused. The elderly are symbols of rich experience and wisdom. The spirits of Pancho Villa and Zapata are there to signify strength and courage. The mural’s title refers to the role of the spiritual in finding solutions. It was sponsored and commissioned by SPARC.

In-progress Photography

Assessment of damage before the restoration

Assessment of damage before the restoration

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Artist Charles "Boko" Freeman restoring "Return to the Light"

Artist Charles “Boko” Freeman restoring “Return to the Light”

 

Charles "Boko" Freeman and Noni Olabisi restoring "Return to the Light"

Charles “Boko” Freeman and Noni Olabisi restoring “Return to the Light”

 

Portrait of Charles "Boko" Freeman

Portrait of Charles “Boko” Freeman

 

Restoration completed

Restoration completed

Artist Testimony

“The subject of the mural is return to the light, which itself is a highly spiritual subject in my view. Because we all are here for a limited time; we have to do what it is we have to do here, which it mainly to learn and to grow, to evolve. And this is an opportunity to do that. So that subject is special to me because we all come from the light, and we all return to the light. I chose certain elements in there to reflect some of the characteristics we need in order to make sure that happens. That is focus and being aware of who we are as individuals and as light bearers and as a result, we have an impact on a community.”

Charles “Boko” Freeman 2015


Conservation of “Love is for Everyone” by Mary-Linn Hughes and Reginald Zachary and the SPARC CityWide Mural Team

Final Photography of Conservation Outcome

Final Conservation of “Love is for Everyone” by Mary-Linn Hughes and Reginald Zachary – Photograph © SPARC 2015

“Before” Image Prior to Conservation

Before Photograph of Mural in 2014 – Photograph © SPARC 2015

Mural Description

“Love is for Everyone” by Mary-Linn Hughes and Reginald Zachary was created under SPARC’s Neighborhood Pride Program in 1991. The mural is located on 5149 W. Jefferson Blvd, in Los Angeles. This is the first mural in Los Angeles to incorporate the subject of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The goal of this mural is to portray the diversity of individuals affected by AIDS. The imagery includes both figures and silhouettes embracing, including a mother and child, a young girl, two men hugging and others talking, embracing and holding hands. The composition is balanced; the two men embracing draw our eye to the center of the mural, while the surrounding silhouetted figures offer a strong contrast in representation. Five small reliefs in the middle of the mural depict images of the world, a phone and phone number, a heart, a woman’s face, and two hands reaching to each other. The figures in the mural are on a black and white scale, while others are in silhouettes. The background is colorful and geometric; each colorful shape has a name or phrase on it. This mural was painted on the wall of the Minority AIDS Project in Los Angeles, which has been serving Black and Latino communities since 1985 by supporting AIDS and HIV positive individuals. The primary artist, Mary-Linn Hughes, was funded by the California Arts Council for several years to serve as the artist-in-residence for an AIDS support organization in Orange County. She then asked Reginald Zachary to be the co-leader on this mural.

In-progress Photography

Assessment of mural before restoration

Assessment of mural before restoration

 

Assessment of mural before restoration

Assessment of mural before restoration

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

IMG_8006

Controlled delamination of latex paint complete

 

Artists Mary-Linn Hughes and Reginald Zachary restoring the mural

Artists Reginald Zachary and Mary-Linn Hughes restoring the mural

 

Painting in progress

Painting in progress

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Restoration completed

Restoration completed

 

Restoration completed

Restoration completed

 

Restoration completed

Restoration completed

Artist Testimony

Mary Linn Hughes, on conserving “Love is for Everyone”…

“Twenty-five years ago I was approached by SPARC about partnering with an HIV/AIDS services organization to create a mural.  I was working in the HIV/AIDS community as an artist-in-residence and had started “Open Portraits” a project offering community, photo equipment and training for people living with HIV and their family members to make images about their lives.  If I was going to create a mural I wanted a collaborator and approached Reginald Zachary, an artist I met when we were both volunteering at an AIDS organization. Together we went looking for and found the perfect home for a mural at the Minority AIDS project.

Months of meetings and photo sessions with MAP staff and clients led to a design followed by several more months of prepping and painting.  It was exhilarating to watch the wall come to life.   Invaluable help came from friends, family members, SPARC painters and MAP volunteers.  After all the painting was done, with silver markers in hand, we added the names of over 150 men, women and young people lost to the epidemic.  Several of the names were people I had loved.

Fast-forward to 2015 and an unexpected phone call from SPARC with the good news that our mural, “Love is for Everyone” had been selected for restoration. Twenty-five years of sun, rain and graffiti had taken a toll and just before the restoration was to begin the city mistakenly covered up a significant part of the mural with gray paint.  Amazingly the mural rescue team was able to remove much of the unwanted paint and we began the satisfying process of bringing the wall back to its original glory.  The painting team that SPARC put together, Carlos Rogel, Myisha Luis Arellanus, Ariel Luna Anais, and Ian Robertson-Salt, was amazing and I loved every minute working with them.   At the end of every day it was incredibly satisfying to step back and notice the progress made that day.  The work went quickly and soon I was back with the silver markers restoring the names and adding new ones as well.

On the very last day of work, after everything was cleaned up, the exhausted crew gathered in a group and stared at the wall which was bathed in golden light.  I was immensely grateful for being given the opportunity to reconnect with MAP and SPARC and to work side by side with my good friend Reggie.  I’m not sure I can communicate with words the satisfaction of revisiting a project after such a long span of time and the joy of seeing it come back to life.  As we all stood there, tired but happy, a woman came walking around the corner and stopped to gaze at the mural.  She smiled and said “Nice work. My son’s father’s name is on the mural. I’m glad it’s still there. My son is in Europe right now but I’ve been telling him about the changes in the mural and I’m sending him a picture so he can see it.”  She pointed out his name to me. It was a sweet and touching encounter and felt like just the right way to end the restoration.”

Mary-Linn Hughes
August 2015


Conservation of “Not Somewhere Else, But Here” by Daryl E. Wells and the SPARC CityWide Mural Team

Final Photography of Conservation Outcome

Final Conservation of “Not Somewhere Else, But Here” by Daryl E. Wells – © SPARC 2015

“Before” Image Prior to Conservation

Before photograph of mural – © SPARC 2015

Mural Description

“Not Somewhere Else, But Here” by Daryl E. Wells emphasizes the themes of community service, social actions and education that the National Council of Jewish Women of Los Angeles endorses. Sponsored by SPARC’s Neighborhood Pride Program in 1994, Wells depicts influential and prominent women of varied ethnic backgrounds building community and sharing struggles through the act of “breaking bread” together. Furthermore, it is both homage to the women it depicts and also a gesture to the community in support of multiculturalism. The women depicted from left to right are: Betty Friedan (author and activist), Barbara Boxer (senator), Hannah Senesh (poet and holocaust rescue mission fighter), Dolores Huerta (United Farm Workers Union co-founder), Lee Krasner (artist), Barbara Jordan (congresswoman and civil rights worker), Emma Goldman (anarchist and labor rights activist), young woman of the Ethiopian Jewry, Aung San Suu Kyi (elected president of Burma, was put under house arrest), Lillian Hellman (playwright), Rigoberta Menchu (Guatemalan human rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) and Hannah Solomon (founder, National Council of Jewish Women). “Not Somewhere Else But Here” has been written about by scholars and art historians since the 1990’s. Paul Von Blum, a respected art historian, published an important article on it with the University of Wisconsin shortly after its creation.

In-progress Photography

Assessment of "Not Somewhere Else, But Here" before the restorationAssessment of “Not Somewhere Else, But Here” before the restoration

 

Assessment of "Not Somewhere Else, But Here" before the restoration

Assessment of “Not Somewhere Else, But Here” before the restoration

 

Conservation in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Restoration in progress

Restoration in progress

 

Artist Daryl Wells at work

Artist Daryl Wells at work

 

Restoration completed

Restoration completed

 

Restoration completed

Restoration completed

 

Wells_RESTORED

Final Conservation

Artist Testimony

“In fall of 2014, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to return to my mural at the NCJW on Fairfax Avenue, as part of a restoration heroically championed by SPARC.  The timing was ideal for me to return to this pivotal piece, since I was in the midst of an artistic rebirth: after 17 years of teaching visual art to students of all ages, I had quit my job in June of that year in order to return to my focus to making my work again.  This project was a powerful reminder of why public art has always been so important to me. It provided the camaraderie of working with a great team of artists and organizers; it included community in the conversation, with many passersby giving their thoughts and encouragement; and it presented an opportunity to acknowledge forces for positive change, as represented by the women featured in the design.   SPARC’s new materials and techniques ensure more robust preservation of L.A.’s historic murals, and the restoration team’s amazing preparation and perseverance through the whirlwind week were a true inspiration.  My mural looks better than ever before– even on the day of its unveiling, the colors and images never looked so vibrant and alive.  I can’t thank everyone at SPARC enough for making this project possible, and for all the passionate commitment they put into ensuring the legacy of Los Angeles’ unique public art heritage.”

Daryl Wells, 2015


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