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Latino murals from downtown L.A. building up for sale

August 17, 2009 |  3:10 pm

East Los Streetscapers, Gateway To Manifest Destiny 

Three murals that once dominated the lobby of downtown's Victor Clothing building on Broadway are on display (and for sale) at Costa Mesa's 3-year-old Grace Lane Gallery through Sept. 30 in the gallery's exhibition "Latino Muralists: Brushes With History."

Gallery director Fred Page said Monday that the three murals -- all about 10 feet by 16-to-20 feet --  interweave Latino culture with that of the United States.

The three are: "Gateway to Manifest Destiny" ($65,000) by the mural collective East Los Streetscapers (including artists Wayne Healy, Davido Botello and George Yepes);  "The Top Hat Bridal Shop Mural," a frieze of three East L.A. weddings by John Valadez ($50,000); and the Eloy Torrez work "Mural of Muralists," in which the artist includes portraits of Los Angeles muralists and artists -- Kent Twitchell, Betye Saar and Carlos Almaraz -- in a setting near a freeway overpass.

Proceeds from the sale of the murals will benefit Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  The works were donated to MALDEF in 2002 by Ramiro Salcedo, a principal in the Victor Clothing Co., before he sold the building in 2004.

Valadez, Top Hat Wedding Party

Eloy Torrez, Mural Of Muralists

The Victor Clothing building near 3rd Street became well known  for its exterior and interior murals. Exterior murals included Torrez's "The Pope of Broadway," depicting a dancing Anthony Quinn, and Twitchell's "Bride and Groom."  And the interior work "The Broadway Mural," a 60-foot-long painting of downtown Los Angeles street life by Valadez, was acquired in 2001 for $100,000 by art collector Peter Norton.

Page said he does not expect an individual to purchase the massive artworks. "They belong in a public institution," he says. "We have approached several institutions, the Angels, the Dodgers, television stations, Wells Fargo bank. This is where they belong, in a public venue."

-- Diane Haithman

Images: "Gateway to Manifest Destiny," East Los Angeles Streetscapers; "Top Hat Bridal Shop Mural," John Valadez. "Mural of Muralists," Eloy Torrez. Credit: Grace Lane Gallery

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