Thursday, March 1, 2012

MacArthur Park Through the Eyes of Sonia Romero

I have to admit that as much as I hate Metro trains and buses sometimes (for various reasons), I have to give it up to them when it comes to public art; they do a great job of putting up a variety of beautiful art pieces in many of their train stations.

My favorite public art piece (that was commissioned by Metro Art and completed back in 2010), is "MacArthur Park; Urban Oasis," by local artist Sonia Romero, and it is located in the Westlake-MacArthur Park Red Line station. It is a series of 13 porcelain mosaic murals, which can be described as vignettes that show daily urban life in the the Westlake-MacArthur Park neighborhood.

What I really love about it is that it represents all that is good in the area and it also gives us beautiful depictions of the working-class immigrant people that work and play in the park; for example, a lady selling tamales, and a paletero (ice-cream vendor).

There is also a lot of history in the pieces. For instance, there is one piece memorializing Al Langer, the founder of Langer's Delicatessen and Restaurant, which is across the street from the park--and has been there since 1947! My favorite panel is the one that depicts the Westlake Theatre, which was built in 1926 and used as a movie theatre until 1991, and is now a swapmeet. The clashing of the old neon sign and ticket kiosk with murals of products you can buy inside the swap meet always made this a curious sight for me and the artist really captures this well.

I'm not the only one who thinks this is great public art. As a matter of fact, last summer it was chosen as one of the best public art pieces by the organization Americans for the Arts. People should check-out this art by visiting this train station; or, if you live too far and can't make it to L.A., visit Romero's website HERE.

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