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Nov 16, 2010 9:50 PM by Ariel Wesler

Guadalupe murals back on display at city hall

Guadalupe's popular murals have returned to city hall after being removed in 2003 for restoration. They developed cracks after the San Simeon earthquake. The works of art were painted by world-renowned muralist Judy Baca and reflect Guadalupe's community and rich history.

They arrived by truck. Four murals eight feet long and seven feet tall, each weighing more than 300 pounds. It took six men to install them.

But for the community, restoring these popular paintings restores the city's image and history.

"There's a lot of people that can say that's my grandma. This is so and so and you know we're a poor community and we don't have a lot of art," said Guadalupe Resident Ginni Ponces.

Let alone art of this quality, painted by world-famous muralist Judy Baca.

"She's got her work in the smithsonian and across the country," said Guadalupe City Administrator Regan Candelario. "This is just another one of those things that shows we're moving in a positive direction."

Ponces moved to Guadalupe in 1983 and remembers when the murals were first installed in the late 1980s. Two murals line each side of city hall symbolizing past present and future.

"It just shows everything from the very beginning. The Chumash Indians and then Oso Flaco and the old adobe that's no longer here," Ponces said.

The second panel shows the downtown corridor with the ghosts of Guadalupe's past and key community leaders. The third explores the ongoing struggles of local farm workers.

"It depicts the farmer worker getting off the train and going through the living conditions that they have to go through," Ponces said.

And the fourth looks to the future.

In the next year, the city plans to permanently install those murals on the south wall of the royal theatre, so they can be seen from Hwy 1.

But for now, they're back at city hall, back where they belong.

Funding to help restore the murals was provided by the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts and Education Center.

The city is in the process of retrofitting the Royal Theatre. Once that project is complete, they hope to add the murals by the end of next year.

Guadalupe is hosting a public reception to officially rededicate the murals on December 11th at 2 p.m. at city hall.

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