Art Fist Collective

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Save the Historic Caliente Mural

Deeming it nothing more than just an old advertisement, the City of San Diego recently approved a proposal to paint over the vintage Caliente racetrack mural located on the western wall of the historic California Theater.   

As KPBS reports, this proposal was done with absolute disregard of the “45 year review,” wherein anything that is 45 years or older should be submitted for review for its historic significance.

Now, the 40x80-feet faded beauty is in danger of being painted over with an advertisement for Newcastle Brown Ale beer if nothing is done.  

"The existing Caliente sign has no association with the historic California Theater and does not itself have historical significance,” KPBS quotes Cathy Winterrowd—Principal Planner City of San Diego’s Historical Resources Board as saying.

Raise your voice and let Ms. Winterrowd  and everyone involved in this irregular decision that being the last public remnant of Tijuana’s legendary Agua Caliente racetrack—the brainchild of illustrious San Diegan John S. Alessio of “Mr. A’s” fame, this work of public art is forever tied to the history of San Diego, Tijuana’s sister city since 1993.

A haven for Hollywood starlets and the international elite, the Agua Caliente racetrack was the signature of class during the Prohibition era. Its legend supersedes that of the Del Mar Racetrack, and even Las Vegas, and was the catalyst for an economic boom on both sides of the border during its heyday.

As its Wikipedia page lists, it set the bar for industry firsts such as starting gates, the use of safety helmets and “pick six” wagering. Both Phar Lap and Seabiscuit ran and won the Agua Caliente Handicap, which for a time was the richest in North America.

This vintage mural should in fact be deemed historic and the brash decision to have it forever erased should be put on hold while they submit it through the proper avenues to be considered as a place of historic significance; one that should be respected and preserved for future generations to appreciate and admire.

The Save Our Heritage Organisation and Art Fist Collective urge you to click here to sign the online petition to save this iconic piece of public art.

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