Actor Edward James Olmos joined Councilmember Huizar at ‘Pope of Broadway’ mural restoration kickoff that will fulfill legendary actor’s late son’s wish to see the 70-foot mural revitalized
Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 29, 2014) – Councilmember José Huizar, who helped identify $150,000 to restore Downtown’s Anthony Quinn’s “Pope of Broadway” mural, was joined at kickoff by actor Edward James Olmos, muralist Eloy Torrez, Isabel Rojas-Williams, with the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, and loved ones of Anthony Quinn’s son, Francesco, who before he died suddenly in 2011, tried to get the 1985 Downtown Los Angeles mural restored.
The iconic 70-foot tall mural presents Quinn, a two-time Academy Award winner and one of the top Latino actors of all time, as a larger-than-life figure with his arms outstretched.
Over the years the mural has chipped, lost color and suffered moisture damage, graffiti, and other deterioration. Now, through Councilmember Huizar's efforts and his Bringing Back Broadway initiative, $150,000 has been secured for the restoration, and the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA) will lead the work on this iconic mural. In 2013, Councilmember Huizar led the effort to end an 11-year ban on murals on private property.
“Anthony Quinn’s rise from humble immigrant beginnings to world-wide recognition as one of the greatest artists of his day continues to inspire many here in the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Huizar. “I’m proud to assist in making this effort possible. ‘The Pope of Broadway’ is not only an important part of our Bringing Back Broadway initiative, it is a masterful piece of art that reminds us the importance of mural restoration and the reason we overturned the 11-year ban on murals on private property – so artists can create new masterpieces. It is also is a testament to the Latino community’s importance to the history and vitality of Broadway in the 70s and 80s.”
While many see the piece as representative of one of Quinn’s most famous roles, “Zorba the Greek,” the artist’s intent was to honor Quinn’s importance to the area and Latino community, having performed as a young actor at Broadway’s Million Dollar Theatre, as well as a warm gesture to the homeless in the area.
Quinn was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1915 and raised in East L.A. before shooting to international acclaim as a performer. He died at the age of 86 in 2001. His son, actor Francesco Quinn, tried to bring attention to the mural and the need for mural preservation citywide before he tragically passed suddenly at the age of 48, in 2011. As recently as 2010, Francesco Quinn was joined by many of today’s speakers looking for assistance to restore the mural.
Funding for the mural comes from community benefit funds paid by Greenland USA for its Downtown Los Angeles Metropolis Project. MCLA will begin restoration in early 2015, consulting with the artist Torrez throughout, with a completion in 2016.
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