The Tortilla Flats Mural Project explores and documents
the stories and lives of the people who lived in the early to mid-20th
century westside Ventura neighborhoods at whose heart was "Tortilla Flats."
It is a story of a population who were born in the first
decades of the 1900's, but whose early lives were grounded in the previous
century. They lived through the Depression and wars and a society that
was changing far too fast to even comprehend. They were the first generation
to give the township of Ventura, California a sense of community, by participating
to an unprecedented degree in Ventura's social, economic, political and
cultural life. In other words, they built this town.
The stories depicted in the mural, which was located on
Figueroa Street, are universal and reflect common experiences of many
working class people. We have used their past as a foundation to examine
our own sense of identity and place. Their particular history is rarely
told. Before their experiences pass away completely from memory we wanted
to capture their simple but resonant stories.
The mural, in it's first incarnation (1995-2001) was the
largest public art piece in Ventura County - 6 feet tall by 507 feet long.
For six long years a local and worldwide community enjoyed this rich,
artistic endeavor. Also for six years the forces of nature took it's toll.
Time and weather deteriorated the mural beyond the point of being restorable.
The original mural, painted on wooden panels, was dismantled and distributed
to the many families and supporters