Local artist Stephanie Mercado was commissioned to paint a 30-foot mural on a transit-oriented, affordable housing development in East Los Angeles, the developer announced Friday.
“It is an honor to be selected for this monumental opportunity to be a part of the cultural and historic fabric of East Los Angeles. I am grateful and humbled to be able to co-create a mural with the East L.A. community that will inspire future generations of youth, artists, makers, and residents of Third and Dangler,” said Mercado. “This commission is a true milestone for me, and for Latinx artists who understand the power of representation and cultural affirmation.”
The National Community Renaissance development, at Third Street and Dangler Avenue, will provide 78 affordable housing units on six vacant county-owned lots near the Metro L (Gold) Line. It will offer a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom units, as well as a community room, public plaza, interior courtyard, onsite parking, laundry facilities and rooftop gardens.
The mural will feature imagery of flowers, household items, folklore and American pop culture to form narratives that represent growth and flowering into being. It will be accompanied by landscaping and vibrant colors. The National Community Renaissance, also called National CORE, hopes it will blend the development into the community.
“National CORE has enjoyed working with the L.A. art community on Third and Dangler and congratulates Stephanie Mercado on her commission,” said National CORE President and CEO Steve PonTell. “We are honored to be able to visually engage the community and celebrate the diversity of this thriving neighborhood through art.”
The mural proposal was selected by an art community stakeholder panel that included members of the L.A. County Department of Arts and Culture, Supervisorial District One and residents and stakeholders in the unincorporated area of East Los Angeles. Mercado was selected for her cultural connections, reflection of community values and inclusive outreach plans.
“As someone born and raised in Unincorporated East L.A., and started their professional art career painting murals under Paul Botello, it was important for me to be involved in this process and help nurture ways in which we support artists from our communities,” said Joel Garcia, who serves on the panel. “I also firmly believe in pushing mediums forward and the selection of Stephanie Mercado allows for this project to advance the mural medium but also help make this art form more accessible in a variety of ways, whether physical, creative but most importantly, how artists can be a conduit for and help transmit knowledge amongst community members.”
Mercado was born and raised in Boyle Heights. Her work is part of a permanent collection at the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, Texas, the Tamarind Institute of Lithography’s archives at the University of New Mexico, the Zuckerman Museum of Art and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. It has also been exhibited in Norway, Italy and Spain.