The name Coachella resonates with music lovers around the world, but we locals know it as the easternmost city in the Coachella Valley — home to a population of young Latino families as well as a large number of Mexican farmworkers. Agriculture dominates this small town of 10,000 people, and has for decades. Cesar Chavez famously led the United Farm Workers union in strikes and protests here and organized the 1968 grape boycott, which artists Armando Lerma and CarlosRamirez, collaborating as The Date Farmers, memorialized in a mural on the side of Casa de Trabajador in the heart of the city’s Pueblo Viejo.
Raised by farmworkers, the artists instigated Coachella Walls, an ongoing series of murals dedicated to “the anonymous farmworker,” but painted by an international roster of artists. Medvin Sobio, director of L.A.’s Academy of Street Art, curated the project, which receives funding from the city’s public arts fund.
The project has grown to a dozen murals, including this month’s installation at Veteran’s Memorial Park by artist Ricardo Angeles Mendoza from San Martin Tilcajete, Oaxaca, Mexico.
You can take a walking tour of Coachella Walls and network with other artists and arts and tourism administrators onDecember 7 at the monthly California Desert Art Council (CDAC) Arts Salon at Lerma’s studio at 85591 Grapefruit Blvd. The walking tour begins at 4:30 p.m. and returns to the studio for a mixer from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
“This a great chance to network with your peers while taking in the spectacular murals by artists from as far away as Brazil and Spain and as close as Los Angeles and Coachella,” says Christi Salamone, president and CEO of CDAC. “The program is part of our ongoing conversation about creative placemaking, cultural tourism, and audience development for the arts.”
More about Coachella Walls:
• Coachella Walls raises awareness of region and farmworkers (Los Angeles Times)
• These walls can talk (Palm Springs Life)
• Coachella Walls and Beyond (anndeelaskoe.com)