Public Art, Shared History, and The Great Wall of Los Angeles

In 1976 the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) began its first project. Led by artist and activist Judy Baca the group’s goal was to create sites of public memory. Over the next 5 years, over 400 volunteers created the largest mural in the world, The Great Wall of Los Angeles. The mural, located in North Hollywood, is over a half mile long and tells the story of California from pre-history through the 1950s. The mural showcases momentous events movements, and individuals who might not always make it into the story of Californian “progress.” As a major piece of public art, the process, the subject matter, and the end product are all of interest for us.

You can organize your 5-7 page, double spaced paper into 3 sections, be sure to begin with an intro and end with a conclusion:

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Your paper should begin by offering an analysis of the process through which the project was conceived and created. Analyze Judy Baca’s mission statement, linked below, and other information provided on the SPARC website, also linked below. What is significant about process? Who was involved?
Then, delve into your experience visiting the mural. Take a selfie at the mural site to include with your paper. What was stood out? Who else was there? What do you think about the location? What surprised you? Was there a section of the mural that you thought was most interesting?
Pick a section of mural to focus on and learn more about. Find one reputable article or book that offers more background on the section you chose. Connect the visuals from the mural to the details of movement, individual, or event represented. What is significant about this movement, event, or individual? Why was it/they included?

Required Resources

Judy Baca’s article “Whose Monument Where? Public Art in a Many Cultured Society”
(Links to an external site.)

Social and Public Art Resource Center Website
(Links to an external site.)

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