For decades, muralism has been an opportunity for Latino artists of all backgrounds to represent their culture, roots, protest against society, or honor their heroes. These murals exist in Latino neighborhoods that have withstood the test of time and gentrification and continues to honor the Latino community. Here are just a handful of some of the most beautiful and Instagram-worthy Latino murals in the U.S.
1. San Francisco – The Mission District Murals
The Mission District in San Francisco is covered with murals that tell the collective stories of Latinos. It not only talks about Mexican immigrants, but also those who fled war and violence in the ’80s and ’90s from Central America.
One mural depicts the need to end the violence titled “Ceasefire,” painted by muralist Juana Alicia. She was also a contributing artist to the murals on the Women’s Building in San Francisco. The mural shows a calm yet defiant young boy standing opposite the barrel of a gun while hands rise up to protect him.
2. Los Angeles – Ritchie Valens Mural
February 3, 1969 was known as ‘The Day the Music Died’ following the deaths of three young recording artists. Valens, J.P. Richardson and Buddy Holly died after their plane crashed in a field in Iowa after a performance in North Dakota. To commemorate Valens, the young 17-year-old Mexican-American rock and roll artist, various murals have been commissioned in his hometown of Pacoima, California.
This colorful mural by activist and muralist Manny Velazquez was painted on the walls of Pacoima Middle School in 1985 and restored to its former glory in 2009 with vibrant hues.
3. San Diego – Chicano Park
Cuauhtemoc was the last Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan. Can you imagine being the ruler of your empire. Then you have to witness your people being beaten, raped, and killed. His last words he spoke about how the sun has left them in complete darkness. He told his people to hide in their homes and hide their songs, knowledge, culture, and even sports. He believed the sun was going to come out again. The people of Tenochtitlan were colonized and the sun never came back up for them. They tried to destroy everything they had, but here we are dancing danza Azteca in 2018. Our songs and dances are what our ancestors hid. I dance because what my ancestors hid is a precious gift to us. I dance because I believe that the sun will come out again. My first time at Chicano park and it was powerful. ✊🏽🙏🏽✊🏽✊🏽🙏🏽🌞🌑🌔🌞✨🦅🥀🌸 #cuahutemoc #indigenous #danzaazteca #tenochtitlan #chicanopark
Tucked away in San Diego’s Barrio Logan neighborhood is Chicano Park, the epicenter of Latino art and life in San Diego. The park is located under the San Diego-Coronado bridge, and the pillars showcase striking murals of artists, folklore heroes, revolutionaries from Mexico and more.
4. Phoenix – Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center
Our mural can always make a dull day brighter☀️ . . . We have prints of our mural available in La Tiendita of @alac_az. We are open again tomorrow from 11am-6pm. Come and visit! . . . 📷: @pitaduhh . . . #alleyart #muralsofinstagram #muralsdaily #muralsinthemarket #chicanomurals #latinxart #virgensita #muralart #alacaz #dtphx #americansabor #azmurals #streetart #mexicanart #mexicanartist #phxmuralproject #muraloftheday #paintingoftheday #vicentefernandez #laloguerrero #ig_brillant #abc15arizona #phxculture #phxgraffiti #phxalleys #latinoculture #artisoninstagram #nonprofit #nonprofitaz #carlossantana
The multitude of murals at the Arizona Latinos Arts & Cultural Center in the state’s capital city are teeming with life and personality. Perhaps one of the most intriguing murals is that of ‘American Sabor,’ which pays homage to Latino artists such as Carlos Santana and Vicente Fernandez.
5. Chicago – Pilsen
Once settled by Czech immigrants arriving to Chicago, the Pilsen area of the Windy City had a constant population of Mexican immigrants from the 1970s to the 1990s. Passerbys can admire murals celebrating Mexican film icon María Félix, Mexican singer Ramón Ayala. There are also scenes of everyday life in a Mexican family, such as this quaint mural of a family making meals together.
6. Miami – Little Havana
Little Havana’s Calle Ocho is known for providing some refreshing mojitos and salsa lessons taught at the neighborhood’s Ball and Chain bar. However, tourists can also appreciate the colorful murals jumping out with sabor and azucar a la Celia Cruz along the boulevard. The main mural announcing the neighborhood gives a nod to the Cuban abuelito pastime of playing dominoes, Cuban artists, flag and always-present frijoles negros.
And Cuban celebrities get their own mural because, porque no?
Si cada fin de semana fuera un fin de semana largo… 😌#AExMe #travelblogger #fashionblogger #foodblogger #styleblogger #dapperBlogger #lifestyleblogger #bloggers #bloggerlife #traveler #viajero #viajante #traveling #instatravel #instapassport #travelgram #instatraveling #tourist #turista #SoMiami #Miami #calleocho #havanaohnana #ReframeYourself #priverevaux #littlehavana
Cubans have long held down south Florida as their major hub and the art around the city proves it.
7. New York City – East Harlem
Don’t let the bright colors of Yasmin Hernandez’s “Soldaderas” mural in East Harlem blind you from seeing the true message behind the mural. Hernandez painted the mural to protest the animosity Puerto Ricans and Mexicans had against each other in the neighborhood. Instead, the artist invites her audience to come together as sisters (and family) through a connection between Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos.