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Reviving the ‘Pope’ in Downtown L.A.

Monday, November 3, 2014

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An iconic mural in downtown Los Angeles will receive a long-awaited $150,000 facelift, city officials have announced.

“The Pope of Broadway” mural, depicting the late actor Anthony Quinn (1915-2001) in a scene from “Zorba the Greek,” will receive star treatment led by the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles.

The years have been none to kind to the mural honoring the Mexican-American actor; it suffers from discoloration or fading, chipping paint, moisture damage, graffiti, and other deterioration, officials say.

Pope of Broadway
City Councilmember Jose Huizar

Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar and others announced the restoration project Wednesday (Oct. 29). The work is expected to be complete in 2016.

The campaign to restore the mural was started by Quinn’s son, Francesco, who died in 2011, at the age of 48.  

Artist to Help

Artist Eloy Torrez completed the 70-foot tall piece in 1985, with the intention of honoring Quinn’s importance to the area and Latino community. Quinn was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, and was raised in East L.A., before shooting to international acclaim as a performer.

The artist also wanted paint a warm gesture for the homeless in the area, reports said.

Torrez will serve as a consultant on the restoration project, set for completion in 2016.

Funding Secured

City Councilmember Jose Huizar helped to identify funding for the project, according to a news release.

Bringing back Broadway
Bringing Back Broadway / Facebook

The mural, painted nearly 30 years ago, has faded, chipped, and suffered moisture damage.

Greenland USA will pay for the project using community benefit funds as part of its Downtown Los Angeles Metropolis Project.

Greenland USA is a subsidiary of Greenland Group, a Shanghai developer that bought a 6.3-acre downtown L.A. site in January for nearly $150 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Broadway Rising

The mural restoration is also part of Huizar’s “Bring Back Broadway” initiative, first launched in 2008.

The initiative, outlined here, is a public-private partnership focused on revitalizing the birthplace of vaudeville and cinematic entertainment in the city.  

In a statement, Huizar described the mural as a “testament to the Latino community’s importance to the history and vitality of Broadway in the 70s and 80s.”

The councilmember also led an effort to end an 11-year ban on murals on private property in 2013.

The project is set to begin in early 2015, officials say.


Tagged categories: Artists; Conservation; Design; Graffiti; Maintenance + Renovation; Murals; North America; Restoration

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