Long Beach in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
Long Beach Recreation is the most ambitious and imposing work created by Works Progress Administration artists in southern California. It is a monumental mosaic created from 466,000 tiles; it covers 800 square feet and weighs over 3,000 pounds. It was originally created to fit in a large arch on the front of the recently completed Long Beach Municipal Auditorium.
The original Auditorium plan called for a painted mural about California history, but its cost led it to be abandoned when the great Depression struck. Federally employed artists stepped in and created a substitute, which was unveiled in 1938, positioned so that drivers heading south on Long Beach Boulevard viewed it at street level.
The artists illustrated many local activities including summers on the beach playing with a ball, a sailor admiring the beginning of his young family, and horseshoe players determining the score of a game, another part of the mosaic shows participants arguing at a free speech area known as the Sit and Argue Club.
When the Municipal Auditorium was demolished in 1975, local preservationists urged the city to save the mosaic. It was put in storage and, in 1982, installed on the south side of the parking garage built for the Long Beach Plaza shopping center. When the enclosed mall was demolished and rebuild as CityPlace in 2002, the mosaic was protected in place. Its current site honors the wish of the lead artist, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, that it be displayed at street level.
Erected 1983. (Marker Number 17.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects marker series.
Location. 33° 46.244′ N, 118° 11.462′ W. Marker is in Long Beach, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is on East 3rd Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Harvey Milk / Harvey Milk Equality Plaza (within shouting distance of this marker); Farmers & Merchants Bank Tower (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Walker Building (about 600 feet away); US Post Office-Long Beach Main (about 600 feet away); The Kress Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Security Pacific National Bank (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Willmore (approx. ¼ mile away); The First Congregational Church of Long Beach (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Long Beach.
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 20, 2014, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. This page has been viewed 258 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 20, 2014, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.