Porcelain mosaic murals by Sonia Romero depicting urban life around MacArthur Park have been named one of best public art projects in the United States by the organization Americans for the Arts. The announcement was delivered on June 16, during the Americans for the Arts annual convention in San Diego.
MacArthur Park: Urban Oasis was one of 47 artworks selected from over 400 competitors nationwide.
Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization advancing the arts in America. Their Public Art Network Year in Review is the only national program that specifically recognizes public art projects.
For MacArthur Park: Urban Oasis, Romero produced original linoleum cut artworks that rendered evocative scenes from the landmark Los Angeles park and adjacent historical buildings. The artworks were translated into thirteen hand-glazed porcelain mosaic panels by highly specialized artisans at Mosaika Art & Design.
Echoing the park’s bisection by Wilshire Boulevard, the mural panels were divided into two parallel facing walls at the mezzanine level. The artwork imagery reflects daily life in the iconic landscape on both sides of the park. More importantly, they connect Metro customers with the area’s historic roots as riders journey through the station.
“I found the story of the park and its fluctuating energy stimulating and intriguing,” says Romero. “I developed my concept around the idea that MacArthur Park is an urban oasis. It was my goal to create a public work, which celebrated the 120-year-old history of MacArthur Park and the people who use it.”
Romero holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is a graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Her exhibitions include the inaugural solo exhibition at the Vincent Price Art Museum at East Los Angeles College (on view through August 19), a solo show at Avenue 50 Studio and a printmaking retrospective at Self Help Graphics.
Romero also recently completed a public art piece, Tierra del Sol, which hangs in the entry hall of the Dennis P. Zine community center in Canoga Park. Along with offering community art workshops for the HeArt Project, she has also worked with youth to complete four large-scale art installations at East LA swimming pools for the LA County Arts Commission.