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Restored Pristine Panel from Depression-Era Mural Goes on Display

WHAT:  One of the 60 panels that comprise “The History of Transportation” mural is now on display in the Inglewood Public Library. While it is being displayed in its shipping crate for safety reasons, the panel’s surface is uncovered so people may touch the petrachrome mosaic pieces used to create the 240-ft. long mural.  

HOW:  The mural was removed from Edward Vincent, Jr. Park after 64 years of damage from weather, graffiti and car crashes. It is currently undergoing restoration and when all 60 panels are repaired, the mural will be installed in downtown Inglewood as a symbol of the city’s revitalization. Conservators estimate the panels will be ready to install and rededicate in the fall of 2005. Until that time, this end panel will be on display in the library as a reminder of what is coming. A rotating exhibit of materials used to restore the mural and other information about the mural will provide an educational component to the exhibit.

WHY:  As part of the Federal Arts Project of the WPA (Works Project Administration), the mural was one of thousands commissioned by the organization to provide work for those who needed jobs, along with important public services, including art. As a petrachrome mosaic mural, “The History of Transportation” is a very rare piece and the largest remaining mural made of petrachrome, an element created to withstand Southern California’s heat and bright sun. Petrachrome also required labor-intensive efforts, putting more people to work than other kinds of murals, which made it perfect for the WPA’s purpose. The mural is also important because it was created by world-renowned California artist Helen Lundeberg, one of only three women in the country to be selected to design for the WPA.

VISUAL:  The petrachrome mosaic is embedded in concrete so that each panel in its crate weighs some 600 lbs. You are invited to observe as this 600-lb. panel is anchored in the library lobby so it can be visited and touched by passersby.