Mount Washington -- The work is slow and painstaking. The summer sun beats down overhead. Cars speed by only a few feet away on a winding, narrow road. These are the conditions that artist Pola Lopez has been working under for the past month as she restores the Southwest Museum Mural, a 170-foot-long, 8-foot-tall artwork painted across a retaining wall on Marmion Way.
Lopez' restoration work comes after years of fundraising and organizing by numerous individuals and organizations that joined forces to salvage and repair the mural of indigenous people painted 15 years ago by Daniel Cervantes.
Before Lopez started painting, another crew spent weeks removing several layers of whitewash that protected the mural from further damage inflicted by taggers and the elements.
Lopez has been posting photos and comments about the restoration on her Facebook page. Avenue 50 Studio has also been posting updates and is raising funds to help cover the costs of mural restoration.
The artist has chronicled her progress and challenges, including dealing with summer heat waves and arriving one day to discover that someone had removed the large blue tarp that had been temporarily protecting the mural.
"This is a very slow process, but I am making every effort to stay true to Daniel's palette and hand," Lopez wrote in a Facebook update.
But Lopez has also been praised by those who pass by the mural as they drive down Marmion, notes Michael Sedano on La Bloga.
"The noted artist takes the speeders and the vandals with measured doses of equanimity and distress," writes Sedano. "These, too, are of the muralist’s community. This labor of love exists for them, too. Other passersby offer saludos of honks and shouted "thank you!", stopping now and again bringing tokens of appreciation, mutually felt."