The National Wildlife Federation’s #SaveLACougars campaign and 3rd Rock Hip-Hop Monday announced they are installing a nature-inspired mural in Watts that will feature the famous mountain lion, P-22, alongside flora and fauna selected by residents of the community.
The mural at the corner of Compton Avenue and Century Boulevard should be complete sometime next week, featuring the celebrity mountain lion — also known as a cougar, puma or panther native to the Americas — that made the seemingly impossible 50-mile-trip from the Santa Monica Mountains to Griffith Park, crossing both the 101 and 405 freeways to get there.
The public art project celebrating the feline reflects the #SaveLACougars campaign’s continued commitment to engage people of all ages and from all over the greater Los Angeles area, organizers said. #SaveLACougars ultimately aims to build a wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon.
The mural painter is Jonathan Martinez, a contemporary artist who juxtaposes fine and street art elements to celebrate the beauty of wildlife and raise awareness about endangered species. Martinez first teamed with the #SaveLACougars campaign last year when he completed a large-scale mural for the students, teachers and families at Esperanza Elementary in Los Angeles.
“The National Wildlife Federation is deepening our commitment to Watts,” said National Wildlife Federation California Regional Executive Director Beth Pratt. “We want to empower members of the Watts community of all ages to strengthen and celebrate their relationship with the wild world and have partnered with incredible local groups like 3rd Rock Hip Hop on programs like Wildlife 2 Watts, upcoming butterfly habitat gardens, and now the first of many community designed wildlife themed murals we hope to install.”
3rd Rock Hip Hop spokesman Warren Dickinson said the Los Angeles-based organization, which uses the arts to teach children about the importance of taking care of the environment, has been a partner of the #SaveLACougars campaign in a number of grassroots, community-outreach efforts.
“We’re very proud to help bring this colorful mural to our kids and families because we believe that our local mountain lions are struggling to survive — much like our community struggles against systemic oppression every day,” Dickinson said.
Monarch butterflies also are part of the mural.
“Kids from this community chose to have butterflies surround our beloved P-22 mountain lion,” said Rhonda Phillips, also representing 3rd Rock Hip Hop. “The monarch butterfly is a symbol for change, hope, and endurance — and everyone who is helping to bring this mural to life wants it to remind everyone who sees it to always go after their dreams and to stay inspired.”
To learn more about the #SaveLACougars campaign visit savelacougars.org/.
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