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América Tropical Update

In September 2010, officials from the City of Los Angeles and the GCI broke ground for the protective shelter, viewing platform, and interpretive center for the 1932 David Alfaro Siqueiros mural América Tropical, the funding of which was made possible through a partnership between the J. Paul Getty Trust and the City of Los Angeles. This event marks the culmination of a long-term effort to make this work of art available to the public.

Located at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, a historical monument and the site of the founding of Los Angeles, América Tropical—which measures approximately eighteen by eighty feet and is located on a second-story exterior wall on Olvera Street—is the only extant public work in situ in the United States by famed Mexican muralist Siqueiros. Partially whitewashed soon after its completion and subsequently painted over in its entirety, the mural remained obscured for decades.

Since 1998 the GCI has been involved in the conservation of the mural, including environmental study, materials analysis, digital documentation of the mural's condition, and conservation treatment. In 1990 the first phase of treatment was carried out. In 2002 conservators stabilized the mural, and with the help of the J. Paul Getty Museum, a temporary protective cover was installed over it.

With funding from the City of Los Angeles and the Getty Trust, the city is constructing both a shelter to protect the mural and a viewing platform to make the mural accessible to the public. Additionally, an interpretive center is being created which will tell the story of the mural in the context of the artist's life and work. Once the shelter is completed, the GCI will undertake final conservation of the mural. This will include stabilization, loss compensation, and minimal reintegration in areas of loss and damage to reinstate the legibility of the image. The GCI will continue to assist the city with the monitoring and maintenance of the mural over the next ten years.