Chicano Mural Will Become Permanent Mosaic in April

The Chicano Mural — which has covered the east wall of Peterson Hall in Marshall College since 2009 — was taken down over winter break to prepare for the permanent mosaic version that will be unveiled in April 2011.

“A lot of students that come from urban areas say that when they walk by the mural, they think of home because, in most big cities, you will see big murals,” literature professor Jorge Mariscal said. “It makes a somewhat hostile and sterile environment a little more inviting.”

Mariscal said San Diego artist Mario Torero planned for the mural to be completed by December 2010, but the construction of the tiles was time-consuming.

“The mural is the result of a two-year process in which students were asking for community-based art,” Mariscal said.

The 15-by-50 feet mural, also known as “The Legacy,” will be unveiled during this year’s César Chavez celebration.

The content of the mural was designed by members of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán in 2008.

A high resolution photograph of the mural was then reprinted as a vinyl banner for temporary display.

“Symbolically, [the mural] being permanent sends out the message that we’re here,” Marshall Freshman and MEChA member Angelica Perez said.

Initially, the mural was for temporary display. But, Mariscal and Torero said the racially controversial events during February 2010 catalyzed the decision to make the mural permanent.

“‘The Compton Cookout’ pushed the whole school to the edge,” Torero said. “UCSD needed to do something in order to heal the disturbance during the early part of last year. If this incident had not happened, perhaps we would not have a permanent mural.”

Vice Chancellor of Resource Management and Planning Gary Matthews said the mural is one of the upcoming artworks to be displayed.

“Student leaders from MEChA have worked in concert with us to identify opportunities to expand the visibility of culturally sensitive art on the UCSD campus,”  Matthews said.