FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Press Conference Wednesday September 30, 2020 11:00am 2903 Marcy Avenue SD CA 92113
Contact: sarahbella mondragon 858-261-4005 firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information go to www.memorialartmurals.org or IG @savememorialmurals
Memorial mural artists demand halt to LMEC construction site plans to demolish another Chicano Park veteran muralists creation, recruiting prominent art conservation experts to its team of preservation advocates this week. Chicano Park Artists have retained Los Angeles based internationally acclaimed art/mural conservator, Nathan Zackheim, pioneer of the “Zackheim Consolidation” technique for wall painting removal, to oversee the removal of Sal Barajas’ 2002 mural “Graduating Students” which is at the epicenter of a heated disagreement over federal VARA and state CAPA laws protecting artists and their creations from destruction by building owners which has been brewing steadily, by the hour.
Last Wednesday September 23rd as the demolition wrecking machines destroyed the largest and most visible Memorial art mural in front of rolling television video cameras, SDUSD leadership told reporters that dangerous asbestos in the building’s walls precluded any possibility of preservation efforts by creator Salvador Torres and his supporters. Memorial art muralists and their advocates doubt the veracity of this claim by SDUSD. They have serious questions they would like a response to. “Where was/is the EIR? Why weren’t families with children at this school for decades ever once advised of the asbestos threat? And if the asbestos was so dangerous, why did demolition crews decide to collapse the mural wall and building in a wafting cloud of dust and debris a mere feet away from neighborhood parents and children waiting in line in front of the school construction site that same afternoon to pick up their childrens’ daily lunches?
Nathan Zackheim is no stranger to working with city governments of revered cultural artifacts in San Diego. He was the expert conservator who was responsible for moving the 46ft frescos by Mexican painter Alfredo Ramos Martinez from the Coronado Cafe to the Coronado library cerca 1990. SDUSD leadership have communicated that Barajas murals must be destroyed to allow for the modernization of a building, in this case asbestos is not the issue. Memorial muralists are angered that Barajas was never contacted by the district. He was never given a chance to remove his works in the time allowed for retrieval under VARA. The mural by Barajas will be received into a historical collection of Chicano Park founding artists at the Centro Cultural de La Raza in Balboa Park. The Memorial Mural Artists also request the immediate release of Torero’s mural, “The Cosmic Testament” 22 ft x 8 ft painted in 1976, composed of five wall panels that SDUSD officials promised to allow him to retrieve over two weeks ago.