Students Welcomed to Campus by New Mural Celebrating Chicano History
Christine Clark | October 19, 2009
Chancellor Marye Anne Fox addressed the crowd during the unveiling of the Chicano Mural on Oct. 14.
To Lorena Ruiz, a new 15-by-50-foot mural depicting Chicano history is like a huge campus welcome sign.
“Where I come from, I see art like this. It reminds of home,” Ruiz said. “It is not just a wall of color to me. It is a dream come true.”
Ruiz, a Thurgood Marshall College senior from South Central Los Angeles was one of three student speakers who attended the official unveiling Wednesday of the community mural, entitled “Chicano Legacy”. Hundreds of staff, students and faculty gathered at Peterson Hall, where the mural hangs, to celebrate the art project created by world-renowned, San Diego-based artist Mario Torero.
The mural is a collage of vivid colorful images and features iconic figures in Chicano history such as Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, along with San Diego landmarks Chicano Park and the Coronado Bridge. It was commissioned to truly reflect the diversity of California and symbolize the campus commitment to providing a public education to all groups in both our region and state.
Hundreds of people attended the unveiling of the Chicano Mural outside Peterson Hall.
The unveiling began with a blessing from UCSD alumna Maria Figueroa Chacón, now a professor at Mira Costa College. UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox; Jorge Mariscal, professor of literature and director of the Chicano Studies program; Seth Lerer, dean of Arts and Humanities; and Thurgood Marshall Provost Allan Havis all gave remarks at the event. Administrators shared the stage with students from Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana y Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), the Student Affirmative Action Committee (SAAC), and the Student Promoted Access Center for Education and Service (SPACES).
“This mural is a great artistic addition to our campus,” Chancellor Fox said. “Cesar Chavez, one of the leaders in the Chicano movement who is portrayed in this mural, believed education was a powerful tool to improve society. In his own words, he said, ‘The end of all education should surely be service to others.’ Those words still resonate today especially here at UC San Diego and Marshall College, which has a unique sense of community and passion for social justice.”
The Chancellor went on to commend Mariscal for spearheading the art project. “It was his vision to have this mural, reflective of Chicano heritage and culture, here at UC San Diego,” she said. “His determination led to this day and this celebration. And for that, we are truly grateful.”
World-renowned, San Diego-based artist Mario Torero (left), who helped in the creation of the Chicano Mural, gave a speech during the unveiling ceremony.
Mariscal thanked the Chancellor for supporting the project. “When I shopped this idea around, I met with many administrators and Chancellor Fox was the most positive administrator I met.”
In addition to the Chancellors Office, the mural was supported by Thurgood Marshall College and the Division of the Arts and Humanities. “This is the first piece of art at UC San Diego that depicts people of color. This project is just the beginning,” said Lerer. “It is the yoking together of public art and a social mission.”
For now, the mural is designed as a temporary exhibit, but it may be moved to a permanent location on campus after Dec. 12. Ruiz, a visual arts and ethnic studies double major, said she hopes the project inspires other students to create art that represents their culture. “This mural is not simply a painting on a wall,” she said. “It is a space where ideas can be born, where words can be put into action, and where community can be built.”