While taking a walk around the streets of La Jolla, you’ve might have seen the many murals displayed on the sides of buildings or tucked away in quaint corners. While driving into La Jolla on Torrey Pines Road, maybe you’ve seen the mural of a person falling. Or maybe you've seen the large mural of the palm tree in La Jolla Cove that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Murals of all sizes and styles are scattered across the community.
In total, there are 15 murals in La Jolla by artists from all over the world. Each of these murals are privately funded, are on private property, and are part of the Murals of La Jolla Project.
The project’s newest mural was installed on Monday, Jan 20. This mural, by local artist and UC San Diego visual arts professor Monique van Genderen, is entitled “Paintings are People Too.” Located on 7661 Girard Ave., the mural draws inspiration from political posters by Sister Corita Kent and acts as a call for empathy in a society affected by questions of citizenry, dehumanizing technologies, and displacements in urban centers.
“All the murals contribute an active place for potential response,” said van Genderen. “When you hang a painting in an institution or a gallery, it’s not static. An audience approaches it and has a unique relationship to it and dialogue with it. With my mural, I’m contributing a question and a potential dialogue. I hope people will see my mural and have some thought about it.”
This Murals of La Jolla Project, founded in 2010, consists of a committee that selects artists and then commissions them to create the murals.
“We think of it as an outdoor exhibition that is ever-changing with 15 dedicated sites and two to three new murals commissioned every year,” said Murals of La Jolla Project Executive Director Lynda Forsha. “Everything is temporary, meaning each mural is up for 2-4 years. We have created a new model for public art.”
In addition to being the project’s executive director, Forsha also leads walking tours of the village’s murals on the last Wednesday of every month. For 90 minutes, she takes a group of 40 art enthusiasts around the village and explains the history of the murals, information about each mural’s artist, and insight on how each mural was created.
Forsha has been leading the tour for the past six years. “It’s enjoyable to walk around La Jolla with 40 enthusiastic people who want to add to the conversation,” she said. “Some are interested in the process, some are interested in the individual artist, some are interested in the concept behind the mural. It allows people to connect the dots and see how it all works together.”
To learn more information about the Murals of La Jolla Project that’s adding of pop of art and color to the La Jolla community, or to make a reservation for an upcoming tour, visit muralsoflajolla.com.