On the eve of Dec.12th homage where millions will honor her, Councilmember Huizar joins community members and artists to celebrate restoration of ‘La Virgen de Guadalupe’ mural at Boyle Heights Ramona Gardens
LOS ANGELES (Dec. 11, 2014) – Fulfilling a promise to Ramona Gardens seniors Councilmember José Huizar joined Thursday evening with the Housing Authority of the City of L.A. (HACLA), LAPD, artist and Boyle Heights resident Raul Gonzalez and Ramona Gardens community members to celebrate the recent restoration of the beloved Virgen de Guadalupe (Virgin Mary) mural.
At the request of community members, Councilmember Huizar allocated $10,000 from a recently City approved mural funding source earmarked to encourage new murals, as well as mural restoration. HACLA covered additional costs (approximately $3,000) and provided stipends to area youth, who were trained by the lead muralist, to participate in the restoration.
The mural was originally painted in the 1970s and redesigned by artist Joe Rodriguez in the early 1990s. Raul Gonzalez consulted with Rodriguez on the restoration, and brought in artist Sonji Mariposa to assist in the project, along with the area youth.
“The La Virgen de Guadalupe mural here at Ramona Gardens is an important symbol of inspiration, hope and faith,” said Councilmember Huizar. “I want to thank the seniors who asked me to help restore it, as well as the artists, including young people from Ramona Gardens, who have lent their talents over the years to make sure that this enduring and beautiful mural – ‘La Virgen de Guadalupe’ – continues to watch over this community.”
In 2008, Councilmember Huizar commissioned the “Art Heals” mural at Ramona Gardens, which Gonzalez also participated in. The area has seen a number of recent improvements overseen by Councilmember Huizar.
Through his Clean Communities Initiative, sidewalks were added to Santa Teresita Catholic School after 64 years of enduring dirt paths; Huizar directed a new Skate Plaza to be constructed at Hazard Park, and he convinced USC to forgo building a street through Hazard Park as part of their Health and Science Campus expansion, and then negotiated with the university to bring in more than $1 million in improvements to the park.
While the origins of La Virgen de Guadalupe go back nearly 500 years as a Catholic story about how the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an Indian, in Mexico City, ‘La Virgen’ still holds strength in the Latino community as a spiritual symbol, as well as a symbol of independence and freedom. To this day, ‘La Virgen de Guadalupe’ continues to be used to invoke and inspire political action and social justice.
In 2013, Councilmember Huizar led the effort to overturn an 11-year ban on murals on private property and on Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to approve his and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell’s motion to adjust the City’s Art Development Fees policy for commercial development, which will free up millions of dollars that can go to supporting more public art in the City of Los Angeles.