Campus Landmark Revival Remains Wrapped

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Returning to the grounds of Cal State L.A., I’ve noticed a change on the campus’ gymnasium wall.

Underneath the long and black curtains on the gymnasium’s west wall hides the old portrait representing the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games.

The artist behind the old portrait’s work is Bill Wagner Granizo or BWG (as his signature on his art suggests). His work was paid by Paul Drozd and his wife Mary Byron Drozd, the art director at the old University Student Union, who according to Andy Pesich’s April 2, 2009 article in the University Times, campus newspaper, were the first ones to envision the 1984 mural idea so the artist can create it.

After the painted portrait was complete, the Drozd went to the Olympic committee to get their approval to hire Granizo to transform the painted portrait into a tile portrait so to put it on the gym’s west wall. The Drozd succeeded in persuading the committee with their plan of using the portrait to represent the 1984 Olympic event; at the time, the judo event was held at the campus’ gym.

The financial support to carry out the tile portrait project on the gym’s wall came from contributors who were willing to give at least $100 or more to have their name(s) printed on a plaque next to the completed work. According to the Pesich’s article, the total amount of money raised in the effort was $140,000, and it took about a year after the event for the plaque to appear next to the work.

Since then, Andy Pesich, who has revisited the landmark’s history in his article in the University Times, warned readers to be aware of the old portrait’s loose and falling tile pieces from its wall.

There hasn’t been any recent public announcements about reviving the old landmark other than what Pesish has cited in his article that the 2004 edition of Cal State L.A. Today, campus magazine, said that the plan to revive the old portrait would be to replace its original tiles with “new, improved mounting surface.”

However, the descriptions of how exactly the portrait will be replaced remains vague since no specifications are mentioned and that no one, working on the apparent revival of the project, was near the repair grounds on the day I visited the site.

It would be interesting to find out who’s funding for the project, what will the project look like when it’s done, and when will the project be completed.

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