Sculptures in Lincoln Park/El Parque de Mexico

Background Information

The text below is from a print publication entitled Lincoln Park (El Parque de Mexico); Statues and Sculptures, published by Urban Art Inc. The original publication was made possible through grants from the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles and Save Outdoor Sculpture!

In 1874, the City of Los Angeles purchased the 46 acres making up Lincoln Park as a site for machine shops of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The shops were never built and after 15 years, the land was returned to the city for use as a park. Originally called East Los Angeles Park, the park was renamed Eastlake Park in 1901, and in 1917, the City Council responded to a petition from nearby residents and renamed it Lincoln Park. Bordering the north edge of the Park, Selig Place was named after William Selig, who in 1911 opened a zoo and constructed in the park one of the city's first movie studios. A carousel opened in 1914, attracting up to 150,000 riders a year at a nickel a ride. However, in 1976 the carousel was gutted by fire several months after it was designated Historic-Cultural Monument No. 153 by the City of Los Angeles.

Today, Lincoln Park is the home of Plaza de la Raza, the highly regarded cultural center that serves as both an art gallery and community arts center. The park is also the site of an important collection of 16 works of public art.

The park's first sculpture, Lincoln the Lawyer, was dedicated in 1925. This was followed in 1937, by Florence Nightingale commissioned by the Works Progress administration as part of the New Deal.

Most of the sculptures in Lincoln Park are now located in El Parque de Mexico. This commemorative area was dedicated to promote the surrounding community's cultural heritage and demonstrate goodwill between the United States and Mexico. Its pantheon of busts and statuary, including the city's only two equestrian statuary, is a gallery of memory for the heroes of Mexican independence and liberty. Brief ceremonies sponsored by the Comite Mexicano Civico Patriotico are held each year on Independence Day (September 16), Cinco de Mayo and Dia de la Revolucion (November 20) in honor of these individuals.

In 1996, Urban Art, Inc., in conjunction with the Department of Cultural Affairs of the City of Los Angeles, conducted the first assessment survey by professional conservators of the condition of the sculptures and memorials in Lincoln Park. The conservators identified the steps necessary to preserve the works as well as provided cost estimates for restoring and conserving the collection. Personnel from the Department of Recreation and Parks were also trained to clean and wax the sculptures on a regular basis. However, the preservation of this artistic and cultural legacy will require our active involvement in raising the funds for repairing the collection and in making sure it is regularly maintained.

Description and images of sculptures in Lincoln Park/El Parque de Mexico


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