Posts Tagged ‘Coit Tower’


Spring break 2011 couldn’t have come at a better time. I mean think about it. It’s tough being a college student. There are tests, deadlines and bars that can’t be neglected for too long or else there are serious consequences …

In all seriousness though, this year, and my last year as a college student, spring break was by far my favorite. I have never really had the opportunity to fully experience the holiday because I typically go home to good ol’ Modesto where there isn’t much going on. This year, however, I had the chance to head to San Diego where I got to soak up much more than the sun.

After visiting the city for the second time, I really noticed how rich the street art culture really is there. From liquor store walls, parking structures, the side of freeways and parks … there is art everywhere and a lot of it is a true representation of the city’s rich history.

My friend doesn’t live that far from Chicano Park so a simple drive to the grocery store exposed me to the country’s largest collection of outside murals that paint a picture of social, political, cultural and historical struggle of the Chicano people in the past and present.

The first time I’ve visited the park was in October. Luckily, my friend gave me a tour and shared some of the historical content behind the pieces. This time around, because we were so busy, I didn’t get the chance to actually stop. Driving by, however, gave me my little fix.

It was nice to see all of the murals and actually learn the history behind them. Often times people see murals and only see the beauty behind them but not much more. Even as an art lover, I admit that I’m guilty of that myself. Sometimes the colors and designs are so mesmerizing that I forget to question what originally inspired the pieces or what they really mean to the artist or community.

The first time it hit me that murals are intended to tell stories and capture a moment in history was when I visited Coit Tower in San Francisco. I went because of the labor studies course I was taking at the time and didn’t expect to get much out of it beyond the great views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge.

It was shocking to see that the white tower so many people see at the peak of the city encapsulates so much rich history depicted in the form of art.

That visit definitely put my stick figures to shame.

With my professor at hand to go through each wall one-by-one, that was probably the first time I was exposed to the full historical context behind the pieces. After that, I have come to appreciate murals much more and visiting Chicano Park only confirmed that.

Photo by Flickr user Cheddar Yeti