Underneath Interstate 5 and the Coronado Bridge, Barrio Logan’s Chicano Park is an enduring monument to the early days of San Diego’s Mexican-American political movement.

The concrete pillars that jut up from the park like birthday candles are painted with colorful murals that document the movement’s early struggles.

Memories from those early days are still vibrant, but after 40 years, the murals have faded. Now, some of their original artists are giving them a facelift. A reporter from California Watch recently visited Chicano Park’s murals and filed this report:

[O]ver the decades, the 72 or so murals, created in the heat of political struggle and maintained by volunteers, had begun to show their age. Considered a major example of the Chicano mural movement — which flourished in California between 1969 and 1975 — the park’s concrete canvases were deteriorating, the pillars subject to 40 years of vibrations from five lanes of traffic carrying some 85,000 cars a day across the bridge.

After a decade of dealing with red tape, restoration of 20 murals by their original artists has finally begun, with the first stroke of paint by Torero and other artists applied this past June.

“We’re the only artists in history who come back to restore our own murals,” said Guillermo Rosette, a member with Torero of Los Toltecas en Aztlan, the artists collective that created the park’s first mural in 1973.

You can read the whole story here.

Adrian Florido is a reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He covers San Diego’s neighborhoods. What should he write about next?

Contact him directly at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org or at 619.325.0528.

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Adrian Florido is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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