"Community of Music" Ben Valenzuela George Washington Middle School 15th St. and Cedar Ave. Assistants-Brittney Powers, Opie Ortiz, Glen Sabalza, Art Valenzuela photo: Victoria Damrel
This 101-foot wide mural celebrates the universal language of music, reaching back to the tribal roots of all people as a message of unity. Students and faculty at George Washington Middle School contributed to and approved the design by artist Ben Valenzuela. The wall, once laden with graffiti and known as a gang wall, today fuses images of various musical traditions.
As shown in the detail, the mural links the long evolution from the handmade flutes that date back to pre-Columbian periods of Latin America to contemporary or Western jazz instruments. At the center of the mural, a man blowing an Amazonian bark horn tied together by reeds is dressed in modern garb to illustrate transition. Artist Ben Valenzuela personalized the mural by portraying friends and celebrities, including Poncho Sanchez and his band members.