Four new business signs appearing on York Boulevard in February were painted in an effort to tell a story about where Highland Park has been and where it is going.
Located on businesses between Avenues 50 and 52, the mural project was facilitated by Ecuadoran artist X. Andrade through the Outpost For Contemporary Art's Full Dollar Collection of Contemporary Art Project.
Originating in Andrade's native Ecuador, Full Dollar was conceived as way to incorporate artists, sign painters, community members and business owners in to the act of making public art.
Andrade, the chair of Visual Anthropology at the Latin American Graduate Faculty for Social Sciences, coordinated the Full Dollar project through the Outpost of Contemporary Art, which called York Boulevard and Avenue 50 home before relocating to the Armory Center for the Arts in South Pasadena in June of 2011.
Andrade spoke to community members from Ecuador through Skype and gathered background about the neighborhood through KCET's Departures project, which focused on Highland Park in 2011.
Artists and sign painters were then called in to communicate the vision expressed by community members through their own artwork.
The result are the murals that were recently painted on Digicolor, The Awesome Playground and Mi Vida. A fourth mural, located on the side of Cafe de Leche, ill be completed next week.
According to a press release provided by the Armory, the Full Dollar seeks to bridge the gap between community members old and new in rapidly gentrifying Highland Park.
"As the demographics of this region continue to evolve and shift over time, the hope for this project is to bridge existing neighborhood divisions between residents who are socially, culturally and economically diverse," the press release states.
So far, the owners of the buildings seem pleased with the work of the artists.
"We're very happy that it's there," said Matthew Schodorf, owner of Cafe de Leche, noting that sign painter Rodolfo Cardona is also responsible for the map painted on the walls inside the coffee shop.
A reception for the Full Dollar of Contemporary Art will be held on Saturday, March 9 from 7-10 p.m. at Pop-Hop Books & Print at 5002 York Blvd.