AAA Editor Notes
América Tropical Interpretive Center & Mural is on Olvera St., n. of the Plaza between N. Main and Alameda sts., part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. The interpretive center tells the story of the creation of David Alfaro Siqueiros' Olvera Street mural; the main attraction is a scaled-down replica of the mural accompanied by interactive video touch screens. Siqueiros was a founding member of the Mexican Muralist Movement. While he was staying in Los Angeles, he was commissioned to paint a mural. Work began in 1932. The nearby Olvera Street Mexican marketplace was, and still is, aimed at tourists, and the mural's commissioner expected an idyllic, tropical Mexican scene. What Siqueiros created instead was a politically charged mural that did not sit well with the merchants or city officials; by 1938 it was whitewashed.
Restoration efforts began in the 1970s but the project wasn't finished until 2012. The original mural had vivid color, but most of that paint wasn't salvageable, so what you'll see today is a mostly black-and-white mural with faint colors visible here and there. The mural is on the upper floor of the Italian Hall building (a few doors north of the Interpretive Center), and you'll view it from the center's second-floor observation platform.