While it may not be visible from space, the Great Wall of Los Angeles is no less a staggering work of community effort and cultural remembrance.
The half-mile-long mural, painted along the inside of the Tujunga Flood Control Channel, depicts the intercultural history of Los Angeles and the state of California. The epic painting took over five years to complete using more than 600 gallons of paint and 400 youth volunteers working with historians, ethnologists, and anthropologists
Spearheaded by the group SPARC (Social and Public Art Resource Center), the work was a collaboration of at-risk youth and academic advisors. A series of vignettes depicts the vibrant history of the region’s multicultural influence, from the prehistoric natives of California gathering their crops, to Chinese builders laboring on the transcontinental railroad, to the brutality of the Mexican-American Zoot Suit Riots of the 1940s. The mural runs in roughly chronological order so that passersby can walk an artful journey through time.
At 2,754 feet long, the Great Wall of Los Angeles is among the longest single murals in the world and is one of the city’s most beloved landmarks. Restoration efforts are regularly undertaken during the region’s dry season (as the work is located in a flood control channel), when volunteers clean the wall and restore the aging art to its original brilliance. Thanks to this impressive community mural, the City of Angels’ rich cultural history is not likely to be washed away by the flood of time.
Know Before You Go
The mural starts on the south end at the corner of Burbank Boulevard and Coldwater Canyon Ave and ends a half mile to the north where Coldwater Canyon Ave intersects with Oxnard Street.