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Restoration of the Great Wall of Los Angeles

Almost everyday this past summer, I've watched as multiple artists have gone down into the Tujunga Wash that runs by my neighborhood to patiently restore the mural known as the longest mural in the world: The Great Wall of Los Angeles.

The mural is painted along a half-mile stretch of the wash that is located on Coldwater Canyon Ave. between Burbank Blvd. and Oxnard St. It depicts historic US events and figures, including those specific to CA and Los Angeles. The project, started in 1976, is an initiative of SPARC, a community-based non-profit arts organization. 

The restoration project and the wall itself have provided great fodder for conversation between my husband and me as we witnessed the brilliant colors return to the mural. How do they choose what to include on the mural? What is the process for restoring an image? Is it like paint by colors numbers? Which moments are new to the timeline? And then of course, we talk about the historic moments themselves. 
  • On the Japanese internment segment: "Remember the time we visited Manzanar?"
  • On the Zoot Suit Riots segment: "Have there been any other bans on fashion and style in our history?"
  • On the Olympics segment: "Do you prefer summer or winter Olympic sports?"
One segment of the wall can provide us with hours of conversation. Each segment has multiple stories to be told and lessons to share. We've been inspired in so many ways to learn about ourselves, our community, our city, and our history in general. All by this one wall.  

On Saturday, September 17, the public is invited to attend a community picnic at The Great Wall in Valley Village in celebration of the restoration project from 3-6PM. The Great Wall visionary and SPARC Founder/Artistic Director Judith F. Baca, along with other city and state officials will be on hand for the re-dedication ceremony. Pack a blanket, chairs and a picnic, or food trucks will also be available at the event. Personally, I would like to see many people attend the event and be inspired in the ways my husband and I have been inspired by this great piece of public art.


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