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Mural Restoration Plan Gets Partial Funding

September 26, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Despite warnings that a notable piece of public art needs repair now, city officials said Monday that public funds can only pay for part of the restoration.

Sections are peeling, fading and crumbling on the half-mile "Great Wall of Los Angeles" mural along the Tujunga Wash flood control channel in Van Nuys, members of the City Council's Arts, Health and Humanities Committee were told.

"We were able to determine the first 1,000 feet is in crisis, and must be treated immediately," said Judith Baca, who oversaw creation of the mural in the 1970s.

Cost estimates range up to $500,000 for saving the mural, although city officials say the work might be done for $125,000. The council has allocated $100,000 for the project so far and council members suggested Monday that the county and private arts groups might help make up the rest.

The mural, said to be the world's longest, depicts Los Angeles' history from the 1700s to the 1950s.

City officials said the restoration project is important, especially at a time when some residents propose to create a new San Fernando Valley city.

"It's more important that it be restored at this point to remind people that we are one city, we are one people, and that retreating is not the answer," said Councilwoman Rita Walters, committee chairwoman.

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