Danzants Aztecas Tonantzin and the Moraza Brothers of Fillmore provided the entertainment for the dedication, which drew elected officials and community activists. (Above) The dancers perform a ceremonial dance in front of the mural, located at 10th and Main Streets. Photo by Don Johnson

‘Celebrating the Latin Culture of Santa Paula’ mural dedicated

July 02, 2003
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe latest artwork from the Mural Project of Santa Paula was dedicated on June 21st with a special tribute to its founders who show the same spirit and determination as those depicted in “Celebrating the Latin Culture of Santa Paula!”The mural, the seventh of a planned 10, is 60-feet wide and 13-feet high, and is located just north of the corner of Main and 10th streets.A tribute to Latino culture, history and contributions as represented by a Latino family, the mural is by artist Eloy Torrez of Los Angeles.Torrez, whose works include Los Angeles’ “The Pope of Broadway,” a widely acclaimed seven-story high portrait of Anthony Quinn, was on hand for the dedication, as was his wife and helper, Margaret.Danzants Aztecas Tonantzin and the Moraza Brothers of Fillmore provided the entertainment for the dedication, which drew elected officials and community activists.“I like it,” said Latino Town Hall President Robert Borrego as he looked at the mural. “It’s very representative,” of the Latino culture and community.Father Charles Lueras of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Sebastian churches, blessed the mural, noting “we’re here to celebrate this wonderful work!”The mural shows different aspects of labor, music, love, marriage, war, a firefighter, physician and zoot suiter, with the Oddfellows Clock Tower and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church among the background images.“This has been a thrilling experience for all our us to bring this particular mural together,” said Mural Project of Santa Paula Founder and President Joyce Carlson.She noted that although past murals have been created from images archived by the Santa Paula Historical Society, “for this one, Tony Diaz asked the representatives of community groups how they wanted their story told.”The mural is about the future, Carlson added, and how Latinos have become a “part of the American dream. . .and Eloy was the perfect artist for this, not only his talent but his heart. We are truly a bicultural community and celebrate that.”Mayor John Procter and Vice Mayor Gabino Aguirre addressed the crowd, with Aguirre noting that “murals can be visionary art or political statements that are uniquely Mexican,” with a history back to the Mayans capped by the creations of Diego Rivera, among other masters.
“We are people of the earth,” and all the elements reflected in the mural are “what makes us great,” noted Aguirre.Martin Hernandez, an aide to Supervisor Kathy Long, said she had never before missed a mural dedication.“Finally. . .an affirmation and acknowledgement of our culture. I want to thank all for being here and for this wonderful place we are lucky to call home.”Mural founders were honored with Anita Pulido addressing their hard work, dedication and community contributions.Jesus and Carlos Ortiz of El Pescador, Paul, Augustine and Robert Reyes of Reycon, and Manuel and Jack Mendez of Mendez Concrete all grew up where hard work and ambition was natural.El Pescador now has 17 branches and over 400 employees while Reycon Construction, Reycon Concrete employs over 200 and Mendez Concrete has dozens of employees.“Together, our founders provide employment for over 630 families,” noted Pulido.All are not only successful businessmen who overcame many challenges but also are active and generous community activists, Pulido added.“This mural is dedicated to the constructions and vision of the families who continue to live here,” said Torrez.“We’ve met so many wonderful people,” and plan to return to Santa Paula often, noted Margaret Torrez.Thanked for their support and contributions were Jose Barcelona, owner of Gonzales Furniture, La Terraza Restaurant owner Adan Sandoval and Anna Marie and Frank Manzano of Franks Paint & Hardware.

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