Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Marmion Way Mural: Open Letter to Gil Cedillo

Open Letter to Cultural Leader Gil Cedillo

January 7, 2020
Councilmember Gil Cedillo
Los Angeles, California

Dear Mr. Cedillo,

Did you see today's La Bloga? Michael Sedano reports encouraging progress on Marmion Way, a short walk from the Southwest Museum Gold Line stop. World-renowned artist Pola López and her volunteer painter, Angel Guerrero, foresee the day in the near future when they lay the final brushstroke restoring Daniel Cervantes' mural of indigenous gente. 

And then, nothing. 

No celebration. No unveiling. No acknowledging the role of the Autry on whose property the mural lives, Avenue 50 Studios who umbrella'd the funding, the city's Arts Commission, nor the role your own office played (link) to give life again to this wondrous mural.

A treasure restored deserves something other than a cold shoulder. 

Órale, Gil, if anyone knows how to put on a civic celebration it's your staff! The Jazz festival, all those Christmas give-aways,  kids arts programs, that bilingual arts magazine; what impressive accomplishments! All this while your talented staff develops your legislative initiatives on homelessness.

I urge you to assign top people to plan a major cultural event on Marmion Way. Bring kid art activities, folklorico, drummers, poets, crowds and excitement to the heart of Highland Park, a big pachanga for arte and the comunidad. 

I know it's a busy season right now,  California's Primary comes on March 3, 2020. 

In a busy political season, when candidates seek ways to stand out from the crowd, invite your friends to come stand with Pola López and accept the gift of her work. She was paid a pittance of the value she installed into that 125-foot wall. She worked for the community  and endured sin verguenza conditions. The artist and the work merit your attention.

Be innovative when you hold the Unveiling Sponsored by CD1 Cedillo.  Reverse the usual hand-out posture typical of candidates by each making a thousand-dollar contribution to the preservation of the mural. Now that the color is restored and Pola López' daily guardianship ends, ongoing preservation looms as the ongoing challenge on that property.

By the way, Pola is still collecting contributions to hire professional assistance in these final stages. Here's the link to her GoFundMe. 

Mr. Cedillo, attached find a few recent photographs of Ms. López and segments of the mural, and a foto from this summer. Take a drive along Marmion Way, be prepared to exult in what's happening on that wall!

Sin otro particular le saluda atentamente,
Michael Sedano

Summer's heat didn't deter the worker and López worked in blazing sun, following the shady spots. Today, the artist dresses for cold weather as she works meticulously in the fine detail regions, blending colors and shading contour. The artist laments that on the coldest days, she cannot work. The paint becomes unworkable from the cold.

Visiting the site in August 2019, the worksite was an occupational hazard. A local gallerist, Rosa María Marquez of Rock Rose Gallery, arrived with a rake one day and began clearing the ground. López credits Marquez with finishing the task in the middle of the night, or at any rate, when López wasn't looking.

Now, with rain-sprouted greenery framing the work, the landscape comes alive to motorists cruising the popular straightaway along the base of Mt. Washington.

Above, four panels now nearly completed. Below, the site in early August. The figure partially viewed at far left, above, is center frame, below.

August 2019

News 'n Notes from Mailbag
10 Days in January: Rivera Book Award Entry Due Date Countdown

Late-breaking from UCR's Alex Espinoza:
Submissions are now being accepted for the inaugural Tomás Rivera Books Prize. The winner, selected by Luis Alberto Urrea, will be published by Los Angeles Review of Books (LARB), receive ten copies, $1,000, and will be flown out to UC Riverside for Writers Week.

Moratorium Memorialized in Peña at dA

Antiwar Play Hits Timeliness Quotient
That teatro poster says it all, like it's been saying since I turned 18 and had to register for the Draft. Then I got drafted. I fought the Cold War in Korea while my friends pulled combat tours over in Vietnam. Now drumbeats beating.

David Trujillo has been developing this antiwar play for a few years. Barbara and I did a table reading for an early draft. She even remembers doing the reading, and that's saying something.

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