Echo Park artist turned repairman fixes damage taggers left behind

Photo by Susan Borden

Echo Park artist Peter Shire was hired nearly twenty years ago to build a memorial in Elysian Park in honor of Frank E Glass and Grace Simons, who spearheaded efforts to protect the city’s second largest park from unwanted development. Last week, Shire returned to work on the 28-foot high monument – not as an artist but as a repairman. Assisted by a small crew, Shire began the job of restoring the metal and concrete memorial that has been damaged by years of taggers as well as rust.  Donna Shire, the artist’s wife, said the nearly $30,000 project has proved more daunting than expected as they discovered that taggers and vandals had become more aggressive over the years. “The sculpture was a mess, she said.

Peter Shire was hired once before to clean up the memorial.when most of the tagging and vandalism limited to the lower portion of the memorial, located  above a picnic area off Academy Road. This time around,  the vandalism extended into the upper portions of the memorial.  “The aluminum and copper were the most difficult to remove the graffiti from without damaging the material,” Donna Shire said in an email. “For the first 15 to 16 years, people only graffited the benches and the columns. In the last half dozen year, the graffiti milieu has become so overheated with its own romance, that every square inch of the upper portion had been covered.”

Shire and five workers are expected to finish the project, funded by private donors, by the end of this week.

Photo by Susan Borden


  1. Thank you. Is there any way that we can come together and take a more aggressive stance against these vandals? I am ready to take whatever action you think is necessary.

    • turn them in when you see it happening; luckily everyone has a cell phone with a camera now. you also get a nice reward (either $1000 or $1500 – forget which).

    • Geez Henry, I would love to hear you expand on your more aggressive ideas.

  2. no, too many psycho’s out there. just call the cops and give them a copy of the picture you took. I also know that you can take pictures of tags and give them to the cops and they build a file against specific taggers. allows them to build a better case against them when they finally catch them.

  3. *loud applause*

    Thank you to Peter Shire & his friends.

    Now if the parents of the taggers would apply the same diligence & responsibility to raising their kids…..sigh.

  4. In my humble opinion a lot of graffiti is more aesthetically pleasing than that thing. Scares dogs kids and horses.

  5. Please , please , just dismantle that thing and plant some trees in its scrap metal place .

  6. i can hardly imagine a more inappropriate sculpture for that location. the view of downtown is fabulous… except for that the sculpture which keeps screaming “look at me; look at me.” but there’s nothing to see. there’s no there there. no offense, but it might work better re-assembled elsewhere…

    • Better than a quincenera mural.

      • How do u figure ?
        A quincieanera ( correct spelling ) at least personifies part of the neighborhoods many cultures, the heap of metal space junk that landed on that hill represents what ?

        • Peter Shire grew up in Echo Park (on Duane Street), has lived in this neighborhood longer than most people and gives back a lot to the community. I would say that a piece of his art is representative of a part of the neighborhood culture. I don’t like his stuff personally, but I respect it’s place in EP history.

          • I actually know Peter Shire because surprise , I grew up here too , but the piece is out of place . Sorry .

          • then say you don’t like it aesthetically. to say it doesn’t represent any particular culture has nothing to do with your opinion of it. the bottom line is that you think it’s ugly (as do i).

        • It’s called an opinion c-minor. Not sure if you are familiar with the concept but that’s kinda what goes on here…

  7. The Japanese revere nature and do not allow man made structures on the tops of hillsides—not even houses. I wish the city or a private patron would pay Peter Shire 30K to remove that eyesore

  8. $30,000 seems like an incredibly exhorbitant amount for this project. I understand it might take about a month of work. $30,000 a month (or at the rate of $360,000 a year) — pretty damn good pay, especially as we cut everything else in sight, even ambulance service.

    • funded by private donors

      • They should invest in cameras too…

      • Actually, that money was supposed to go to improve Elysian Park generally. But it is all instead going to that monument!

        The money you refer to was what Grace Simons and Frank Glass left to the park, with but a stipulation for something to recognize their gift. Grace suggested a little thing someplace, like a plaque or a bust, but this is what was decided after they died. And it seems too much of the money they left, and maybe all of it is going to this big monument rather than other park needs — not what Grace and Frank intended.

        • Susan, Obviously you don’t know what you are talking about. There are no stipulations for how the money is spent when the estate money was donated. You also don’t seem aware of how much money is in the fund because this is not near all of the money.

          There’s also two children’s play structures that were funded by the estate, one at Scott and Avenue of the Palms and another on Casanova Street in the old Auto Camp area. There’s also plenty of money for other projects that are in the works.

    • Frank, didn’t your parents teach you that its rude to count other peoples money?

  9. I admit that I don’t know the sculpture. But show some respect to Peter. He’s a cool guy, has had an influential career (international in scope), and is an Echo Park local who has given back a lot to the community. Stop by during his pre-xmas open studio/ceramic sale some time (http://www.echoparkpottery.com/about.html).

  10. SolanoCanyonPop

    Thank you, Peter and friends!

    If you don’t like the sculpture, go to one of the hundreds of other viewpoints in the park, sheesh.

    Lots of trash theses days on Stadium Way around the stadium. Don’t the Dodgers pay for maintaining the area?

  11. 30,000 dollars to fix that , what a waste of money on something useless.

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