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Virtual | Reimagining Memorials and Memory, with Judy Baca

November 4, 2021 | 6:00 pm

Judy Baca in a white jumpsuit in front of the Great Wall of Los Angeles
3pm PT/ 4pm MT / 5pm CT / 6pm ET

Join our conversation with Judy Baca, Los Angeles-based artist, educator, scholar/activist, community arts pioneer, UCLA professor emeritus, and founder of the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARCinLA). Judy has produced numerous murals in Los Angeles and elsewhere since the early 1970’s, and is particularly renown for The Great Wall of Los Angeles (also known as The History of California).

“I want to produce artwork that is beautiful and inspirational, and beyond decorative.  I excavate public spaces to hear public voice, and to create public consciousness about the presence of people who are often the majority of the population but are not represented in a visual way. By telling their stories I hope to give voice to those least heard and to visualize a more whole American story. I call this creating sites of public memory.” – Judy Baca

This program will highlight Baca’s artistic practice as a tool for both people and place. She will present several of her murals which dramatically document both told and untold American stories of the disenfranchised. Baca will also share her wisdom, personal perspective, and vast experience on how to effectively reimagine memorials and memory. Cathie Behrend, ArtTable New York member who co-organized this series, will introduce the program and speaker. There will be ample time for questions so come prepared with your inquiry about Memorials and Memory.


Segment of the Great Wall of Los Angeles          Segment of the Great Wall of Los Angeles

Segment of the Great Wall of Los Angeles



  • ArtTable Circle Members– Free
  • All other ArtTable Members – $10
  • Non-Members – $15
  • Members may bring an additional guest for $5

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Accessibility: This program will offer automatic closed captioning services. If you require additional accommodations, please email

About Judy Baca

Headshot of Judy BacaOne of America’s leading visual artists, Dr. Judith F. Baca, grew up in Los Angeles and has been creating public art for more than four decades. In 1974, Baca founded the City of Los Angeles’ first mural program which produced over 400 murals and employed thousands of local participants, evolving into an arts organization known as the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC).

Dr. Baca, now Professor Emeritus, was a University of California senior professor of Studio Art  (1980-96), founded UC’s Cesar Chavez Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in 1993, and has long been a professor in UC’s Chicano/a Studies and World Cultures Department in UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture.  She continues to serve as SPARC’s artistic director, and within the UCLA@SPARC Digital/Mural Lab, now uses digital technology as she co-creates murals promoting social justice and participatory public art projects. Her honors include a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2015  Rockefeller Fellowship and over 50 awards from various community groups. Judy Baca’s artwork is included in the collections of The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Hartford’s Wadsworth Atheneum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, among others. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in L.A. has recently acquired The History of California archive; and currently, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA presents a major retrospective of Judy Baca’s practice.

Her most well-known work, ‘The Great Wall of Los Angeles,’ created between 1976-1983, runs for one-half mile in the Tujunga Wash, a flood control channel of the Los Angeles River, featuring images of California’s pre-history into the 1950’s. In 2017 it was named to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2021, Baca and SPARC received a $5 million Andrew Mellon Foundation grant to extend The Great Wall’s imagery for another half mile to include narratives up to the present and develop further interpretive material.


Thank you to Cathie Behrend, former Deputy Director of New York’s Percent for Art Program and founder of VenturesinVision, and Lori Shepard, ArtTable member (New York Chapter), for organizing this program series.


  1. Portrait of Judy Baca at the 2004 partial restoration of the Great Wall of Los Angeles. Background mural detail from the 1950’s section “Forebearers of Civil Rights.”
  2. 3 mural images: Judith F. Baca(c)1976, Great Wall of Los Angeles, detail from the 1950’s section “Division of the Barrios and Chavez Ravine,”; detail from the 1950’s section “Asians Gain Citizenship and Property,”;detail from the 1950’s section “Olympic Champions 1948-1964 Breaking Barriers.”
  3. Judy Baca at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC).

All images courtesy of the SPARC Archives.


November 4, 2021
6:00 pm
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