New Locations for the La Casa Cultural Latina and Department of Latina/Latino Studies Mural overview image

New Locations for the La Casa Cultural Latina and Department of Latina/Latino Studies Mural

  • Post Date: 7/1/2020
  • Author: Seetha Ramaswamy, IT student
  • Reading Time: 3 minute read

After 46 years, panels of the mural Oscar Martínez created in 1974 have been relocated to the Illini Union and the Spurlock Museum. The Museum recently worked with La Casa Cultural Latina, the Department of Latina/Latino Studies (LLS), the University, and the Office of Facilities and Services in order to preserve and install Oscar Martínez’s mural at both of these locations.

Christa Deacy-Quinn, Spurlock Collections Manager, worked with Brent Lewis of Facilities and Services in order to find a conservator company to take care of the mural panels. She also helped with guiding the installation process at both locations. The challenge with these mural panels is that they had been painted directly onto the walls and wallpaper of the previous La Casa, which made it difficult to remove and reinstall. The process of safely removing the panels and successfully reinstalling them was essential to reinvigorate the life, history, and future of the mural. They’re now on display at the Union in the southwest hallway, and in the Americas gallery at the Museum.

  • three Spurlock staff members and two Facilities and Services workers installing a third mural panel in the Spurlock Museum
  • two men from Facilities and Services measuring the Spurlock gallery wall while three Spurlock staff members watch
    Staff from the Office of Facilities and Services and from the Spurlock Museum installing panels in the Spurlock Museum

Mr. Martínez’s mural used to be housed in the former building for the Department of LLS and La Casa. Through student efforts, the decision for Oscar Martínez to come back in order to renovate the mural in 2004 (after first creating it in 1974–1975) was made. Once again through community efforts, these symbols of resistance and culture are now in 2 celebrated campus locations. It is important that the panels are recognized and preserved in different parts of our campus in order to celebrate our Latinx culture and community.

  • workers place a panel of the mural in a corner of the Illini Union next to an installed panel featuring a person with long hair
  • two people lifting a mural panel while two people stand on a platform to place on a wall at the Illini Union
  • Christa standing on the stairs pointing to an area in the lobby of the Illini Union the mural panels
    Facilities and Services and Christa Deacy-Quinn installing panels in the Illini Union

More history on this mural can be found in our New Americas Module: The La Casa Cultural Latina and Department of Latina/Latino Studies Mural blog post and in the article “An Act of Defiance Becomes a Symbol of Change” at the Illinois STORIED site, which also includes a behind the scenes video of its conservation and a 360° virtual tour of the previous La Casa at Chalmers Street.