Jul 30, 2014
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Hummingbird House Mural Is Foreclosure Victim

Mural organizer expressed dismay when informed the hummingbird mural had been painted over.

Hummingbird House Mural Is Foreclosure Victim Hummingbird House Mural Is Foreclosure Victim

Add Highland Park's iconic Hummingbird House to the list of victims claimed by the housing market's crash.

The Goldline-adjacent Marmion Way home, once adorned with a vibrant mural that paid tribute to the longtime residents' Nicaraguan heritage--complete with a colorful hummingbird and black volcanoes--was recently covered in coat of brownish gold paint.

According to The Eastsider Los Angeles, the home fell into foreclosure in November, and had subsequently become a target for neighborhood vandals.

The home is currently listed for sale by Century 21, through agent Misael Vasquez Jr.

"That's sad. Why would they do that?" said Luis Ituarte, Vice President of the Pasadena/Tijuana Border Council of Arts and Culture (COFAC)

COFAC--thanks to a $10,000 grant from the National Association of Arts and Culture--planned and painted the mural on the Zuniga's residence on Marmion Way last spring as part of the American Home Intervention Project. 

The concept for the mural was designed in collaboration with the Zuniga family by artist Daniel Ruiz--an effort to highlight their strong Nicaraguan heritage.

That explained the Motmot, which is Nicaragua's national bird, as well as the four black volcanoes and the poem by famous Nicaraguan poet Gioconda Belli on the rear side of the neighbor's garage.

"The project comes out of developing relationships with the homeowners," Ituarte told Patch last spring. "What we wanted to do was create beauty and use art as a connector to build relationships in Highland Park."

Less than a year after its creation, Ituarte was saddened by the loss of that potential art-based connection.

"It's sad to see that some people have such a lack of understanding of the importance of art," Ituarte said on Wednesday.

Speaking to Patch from Tijuana, Ituarte did not initially realize that the Hummingbird House had already been painted over and expressed a willingness to work with the real estate agent to preserve the mural.

"We don't want it to be painted over, we want to work with the real estate agent and at least make sure the broken window is repaired so that it doesn't remain a target for vandals," Ituarte said. "When something looks abandoned, before you know it it's completely destroyed."

Upon learning that the mural had been painted over, Ituarte seemed unsure of what COFAC's next move might be.

"Who knows? We'll have to wait and see. Maybe we could repaint it," he said.

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