Artists Mario Torero and Salvador Torres at the mural site before it was demolished on 9/11/2020.

The group of muralists have obtained an attorney, restoration expert to safely remove murals from Memorial Prep Middle School

SEP. 30, 20205:01 PM


SAN DIEGO —  Muralists and community members are continuing their fight this week to save murals at the old Memorial Prep Middle School in Logan Heights, as the campus undergoes a massive renovation.

The artists have obtained an attorney and help from art conservator Nathan Zakheim to spur the removal of two murals by artist Salvador “Sal” Barajas from the buildings.

Barajas, an influential artist who was one of the first muralists in Chicano Park, said he was not notified that his murals would be destroyed during the construction process.

Standing a few feet from the school Wednesday, Barajas and two other artists, Mario Torero and Salvador Torres, held printed photos of murals they painted for the campus. The artists said they are willing to seek a court injunction against the San Diego Unified School District if the school proceeds with destroying their artwork.

Barajas held up a photograph of his 18-year-old mural titled Graduating Students, which depicts two students wearing graduation caps and gowns and holding books and a diploma.

A community member held up a photo of Barajas’ other mural, Aztec School, which has the words “graduation, education and motivation” and portraits of influential civil rights leaders.

“The theme is education,” Barajas said, of his two murals. “There is nothing wrong with having something like this at the school…. Why they are tearing them down, I have no idea.”

The school district received a letter from the artists’ attorney, a spokeswoman said, but she would not comment further.

Last week, community members and artists unsuccessfully rallied to save a 32-year-old mural by Torres at the school. The building was torn down in the afternoon despite a sit-in protest at the demolition site by an Encanto resident.

Despite protests, construction crews tear down a building with a art work by muralist Salvador Torres in Barrio Logan.

Despite protests, construction crews tear down a building with a art work by muralist Salvador Roberto Torres at Memorial Junior High School in Barrio Logan on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020 in San Diego, CA. (Eduardo Contreras/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego Unified officials said then that Torres’ mural could not be saved because it was painted on a building that contained asbestos.

Article reposted from the San Diego Union Tribune.