News Release| CSULA; Cal State L.A.; Los Angeles; CSU; Walls of Passion: The Murals of Los Angeles; art exhibition


Notes to editors and news directors:

An interactive map showing the locations of the 32 murals showcased in this

exhibit can be found here:

Map of “Murals of Los Angeles” locations:

Journalists are invited to the opening reception and panel discussion

Saturday, Jan. 31. The reception is from 6-10 p.m. The discussion begins 6:30.

To arrange interviews or request images, contact Public Affairs at
(323) 343-3050 or

The following individuals are available for interviews:

Muralists Paul Botello and Man One (Alex Poli)

Project leader Manuel Aguilar-Moreno, art history professor, Cal State L.A.

Cal State L.A. graduate-student researcher/photographer Isabel

Rojas-Williams and others
Elizabeth Morin, director of Youth Arts and Education, City of Los Angeles


Photos of seven featured murals are available for media use. They may be

viewed here, where they are linked to higher-resolution images: /univ/ppa/newsrel/lamurals-photos.htm

For your consideration, a brief sidebar – “Murals as mortals” – follows the
release text.



‘Walls of Passion’ to focus

on power of 32 L.A. murals 

Cal State L.A. launches photo-documentary’s run Jan. 31

with panel of  muralists, students, cultural experts


Exhibit Details:

Where:         Fine Arts Gallery, Fine Arts Building.

California State University, Los Angeles.

When:           Jan. 31 - Feb. 28, 2009.

Gallery hours: Mon. - Thur. & Sat., noon -5 p.m.

(Opening reception, 6-10 p.m., Jan. 31; artists/scholars panel

discussion at 6:30 p.m.)

Info:             Free to the public. Call (323) 343-4040.


Los Angeles, CA – Scanning Los Angeles, some Cal State L.A. students found 150 vibrant displays of passion along the boulevards of the city and beyond – and almost all of them in plain sight.

Generally big, bright and bold, they are murals. For “Walls of Passion: The Murals of Los Angeles,” a photo-documentary exhibition to open Saturday, Jan. 31, and run through Feb. 28 at Cal State L.A.’s Fine Arts Gallery, the students selected 32 of them for further research. The walls convey messages ranging from oppression to triumph.

Geographically, the subjects range from Rip Cronk’s whimsical “Venice Beach Chorus Line” right at the beach to Man One’s edgy “Protected by a City of Angels” about 50 miles eastward in Claremont. North to south, they range from Thomas Suriya’s “You are the Star” and Dan Collins’ “Giant” in Hollywood to Keith Williams’ “Becoming Conscious” and Terry Schoonhoven’s “White City” in Long Beach.

(An online map with locations, descriptions and images of the murals can be found here: A full list of artists is below.)

At the exhibit’s opening reception Saturday, Jan. 31, Man One and three other muralists featured in the exhibit – Cal State L.A. alumni Paul Botello and Kent Twitchell, and Francisco Letelier – will be joined in a panel discussion by cultural scholars, arts administrators, and students who prepared the exhibit.  (See full list of panelists below.)  The reception will be from 6 to 10 p.m., with the panel discussion at 6:30.

The gallery, in Cal State L.A.’s Fine Arts Building, is open Mondays through Thursdays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For details, call (323) 343-4040.

For their culmination project for a graduate course last spring, the team of 15 Cal State L.A. art-history students whittled a list of more than 150 L.A. murals down to a particularly compelling 32. The students visited the murals’ communities, documented the walls, photographed them, interviewed people in the communities and the artists when possible, and promoted the preservation of the murals.

According to course instructor, Professor Manuel Aguilar-Moreno, the murals represent an array of cultures and ethnicities in L.A., including Latino, African American, Filipino, Anglo American, Chinese, and Korean. There are roughly 2,000 murals in the Los Angeles area, he said.

“Their images show a legion of contrasting themes and attitudes,” said Aguilar-Moreno. “Public and street art provides an opportunity for both the self-expression and the self-definition of communities who are frequently forgotten in our main cultural venues…. Community murals are an empowering force that serves to tell micro-histories. They express social and political struggles. They support their traditions; and they communicate feelings of discontent, frustration, love and hope.”

The exhibition will be curated by the Art History Society, a Cal State L.A. student organization.

For Isabel Rojas-Williams, one of the student participants, the project itself became a passion. When graffiti marred one of the murals she was researching – Paul Botello’s  “La Pared Que Habla, Canta y Grita” (or “The Wall that  Speaks, Sings and Shouts”) at 3864 Whittier Blvd. in East Los Angleles – Rojas-Williams restored it.

“Murals,” she said, “have happened from the beginning of time. You don’t have to know how to read or write, but there’s a direct connection, artist to viewer, in the passing of important stories.”

Aguilar-Moreno sees the exhibition as the launch of a five-year project that will ultimately lead to a published “historical testimony of the street art in Los Angeles and help us understand the social and political realities of the communities represented in the murals.”

(See full list of student participants below.)

After its run at Cal State L.A., “Walls of Passion” is scheduled for exhibition at the Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles, he said.

# # #


Murals as mortals

“Murals live and die everyday,” said Manuel Aguilar-Moreno.

Some are whitewashed, he said, some are tagged with graffiti or otherwise vandalized, and some are worn down slowly by weather and the urban environment.

Aguilar-Moreno, a Cal State L.A. professor of art history, is coordinator for “Walls of Passion: Murals of Los Angeles,” an ongoing photo-documentary project with an exhibition Jan. 31 through Feb. 28 at Cal State L.A.’s Fine Arts Gallery.

About 20 of the 150 murals researched for the project have been damaged or destroyed in the past, he said.

Isabel Rojas-Williams, one of 15 student-researchers with the project, said, “This is a constant change. Everyday murals are tagged. And, just since we’ve done the research, two have been whitewashed.”

Also during the project she has helped restore two that were vandalized.

# # #


Muralists whose work is featured in “Walls of Passion”: 

Paul Botello assisted by Adalberto Ortiz, Gerardo Herrera, and Gustavo Sanchez

David Botello

Dan Collins

El Congreso de Artistas Cosmicos de las Americas de San Diego (Mario Torero)

Rip Cronk

Boris Deutsch

Sandra Drinning

Dsyple One

Earth Crew (Erik “Duke” Montenegro, Benjamin James Frank, Jr., Rogelio “Angst” Cabral, and Joseph “Nuke” Montalvo.  Coordinated by Helen Samuels.)

The East Los Streetscapers

Charles Freeman

Roger Hayward

Francisco Letelier

Man One (Alex Poli)

Christina Miguel-Mullen & the East-West Community Partnership

Mister Cartoon and T Loko

George Samerjan

Terry Schoonhoven

Eliseo Silva

Thomas Suriya

Roderick Sykes and Jacqueline Alexander-Sykes

Nelyollotl Toltecatl

Eloy Torrez

Kent Twitchell

Richard Wyatt

John Zender-Estrada, Nuke, Chose, Siner, Zuco, Scud, Cahli, Shandu and Duce


Panelists for opening-night discussion (6:30 p.m., Jan. 31, Fine Arts Gallery):

Man One, one of California’s most recognized graffiti artists, is creative director of Man One Design, which incorporates graffiti art into corporate marketing and commissioned murals.

Paul Botello, a graduate of Cal State L.A., is a mural artist whose works powerfully combine realism and symbolism. He has participated in significant public and private mural commissions.

Kent Twitchell, a graduate of Cal State L.A., creates murals in large format, mainly about people, both famous and ordinary.

Francisco Letelier, a Chilean-born artist, creates colorful murals depicting political, social and other issues.

Holly Barnet-Sanchez, associate dean of student affairs and technology and professor of art history at University of New Mexico, is a renowned scholar of muralism in Los Angeles, about which she has written many articles.

Roberto Cantú, professor of Chicano Studies and English at Cal State L.A., is an expert in the history and culture of Mexican Americans, particularly as expressed in art and literature.

Michelle Hawley, professor of English at Cal State L.A., is an expert in literary and visual narratives among the ethnical communities of Los Angeles.

Isabel Rojas-Williams, a Chilean-born graduate student of art history at Cal State L.A., has considerable experience in social and political movements related to art.  She is a leading student contributor to the exhibit.

Justine Bae, a Korean-born graduate student of photography at Cal State L.A., has used photography both as an art form and in social commentary. She is a experience in artistic and social photography.  She is student contributor to the exhibit.

Elizabeth Morin directs the Youth Arts and Education Program for the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles.

Manuel Aguilar-Moreno, a professor of art history at Cal State LA, is the coordinator of the “Walls of Passion” project and exhibition. 


Student photographers/researchers/curators:

Erick Altamirano

Justine Bae

Elif Castellanos

Fernando Cervantes

Lisbeth Espinosa

Leslie Jacobo

Laura Lesko

Jeanie Kim

Tiffany Kim

Nicole Marquez

Lesley Negrete

Isabel Rojas-Williams

Kasia Somerfeld

Tiffany Staines

Taneka Washington

Professor Manuel Aguilar-Moreno

Project catalog designer Jimmy Moss

#  #  # 


Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 205,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.


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