During Open House San Diego, March 25 & 26, there are four opportunities to tour the historic landmark, Chicano Park with its collection of vibrant murals painted on the pillars, abutments and ramps of the Coronado Bay Bridge in Barrio Logan. We are fortunate to have these tours be led by one of the mural artists, Mario Torero. We sat down with Mario to talk about what he sees for the future of Barrio Logan, as well as to get a taste of what tour attendees will experience.
Mario, born in Peru, came to Barrio Logan at the age of twelve, right about the time when the Barrio was just beginning to establish itself. In 1970, the people of Barrio Logan reclaimed land intended for a California Highway Patrol substation and created Chicano Park, a testament to the strength and beauty of their culture. Many people from the community helped make the park what it is today, including Mario and his father. Mario has been extremely involved in the development of the arts in not only the Barrio Logan area, but also East Village and Downtown San Diego.
Since Mario first settled in San Diego, he has seen the impact that Barrio Logan has had on the city of San Diego, helping make it the outstanding cultural hub that it is today. Mario states that as things change throughout the city of San Diego, it is crucial to remember that San Diego is most importantly a “cultural city.” This is something that Mario, as well as many other artists and community members in Barrio Logan, fear is going to disappear as the city continues to move into a new age. In order to combat this, Mario and many others are trying to raise awareness of the change that is happening, not so that they can prevent the change, but rather so they can ensure that the culture that has been established by the people of Barrio Logan is embraced and is incorporated into this new age of the city of San Diego. Learn more about Mario from his website, fuerzamundo.org, and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/mariotoreroartivist/.
This topic of cultural importance leads us into what exactly you will be able to expect on one of Mario’s four tours during Open House San Diego. He will walk the groups throughout Chicano Park, which he calls “the protector of Barrio Logan.” Mario will stop at each mural along the way and tell you not just about the surface of each mural, but also the historical and cultural meaning behind each one. This history is very important to understanding just what Barrio Logan, and Chicano Park mean to the city of San Diego. Mario hopes that through these tours, he will help people be able to see the culture that he lives and breathes, and realize that it is something that needs to be a part of the future of the city.
Artist Mario Torero
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