SPARC Celebrates Great Wall of Los Angeles


On Saturday, September 17, 2011 from 3pm to 6pm the public is invited to celebrate the restoration of the Great Wall of Los Angeles Mural – the largest monument to inter-racial harmony in America today. The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) is presenting a three-hour celebration/ community picnic featuring keynote speakers, musicians and poets.


The Great Wall of Los Angeles is located along the Tujunga Wash Flood Control Channel on Coldwater Canyon Ave, between Burbank Blvd. and Oxnard Street, just north of the 101 Freeway in the L.A. community of Valley Glen. Over the past few years SPARC has led the complete restoration of the mural with support from the California Cultural Historical Endowment, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, County of Los Angeles Flood Control District and Prudential Social Investments.

Great Wall visionary and SPARC’s Founder/Artistic Director and Distinguished UCLA Professor Judith F. Baca, Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel (former Second District Councilmember) and California State Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes will be present at the re-dedication ceremony. Additional community partners for the event include UCLA, The City Project, NoHo Arts District, KCET Departures, the Greater Valley Glen Council, and wHY Architecture. The community is welcome to bring a picnic, blanket, and chairs. A variety of food trucks will also be available.

About the project: The Project was created and directed by California Chicana muralist Judy Baca, SPARC’s Founder/Artistic Director.  The Project involves restoring and preserving “The Great Wall of Los Angeles” mural, a half-mile long monument and a landmark to the history of America and California from prehistoric times to the 1950’s.  Begun in 1976 and completed over five summers, the Great Wall employed over 400 youth and their families from diverse, social and economic backgrounds working with artists, oral historians, ethnologists, scholars, and hundreds of community members.  

“The Great Wall” is painted on a half-mile section of the concrete retaining wall of the Tujunga Wash in the San Fernando Valley.  In addition to restoring the mural, SPARC will also be constructing a new solar-lit “green” bridge with interpretive stations, and constructing five additional stations along the wall to provide access to the historical content of the mural. SPARC is collaborating with wHY Architecture to make this bridge a reality.

Restoration Phase: Over the last thirty-five years, the mural has suffered extensive damage due to sun exposure and lack of restoration funds. The restoration plan included reconsolidation and reattachment of loose paint, removal of surface oxidization for color revival, and the application of ultraviolet protective coatings that will extend the life of the mural for additional thirty-five or more years. Aesthetic recovery also includes repainting the disappearing sections of the mural.

About SPARC: Creating Sites of Public Memory Since 1976
SPARC is a community-based non-profit arts organization founded in 1976 by muralist Judith F. Baca, filmmaker Donna Deitch, and artist Christina Schlesinger. SPARC is dedicated to producing, presenting, and preserving public artworks in Los Angeles, nationally, and internationally.

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