Chicano Murals Named on 2022 List of Most Endangered Historic Sites

Lead Photo: Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Initiative
Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Initiative
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The National Trust for Historic Preservation released its 2022 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list and Chicano murals throughout Colorado are on the list. According to the organization, the murals are a key component in telling the often-overlooked story of how our communities contributed to the state during the Chicano Movement in the 1960s and 70s. The historic places listed are endangered by neglect, inappropriate development, and climate change.

In cities across Colorado, the gentrification of the neighborhoods that house these murals are threatening their continued existence. They stand as reminders of political activism and cultural education that took place during the Chicano Movement.

“These murals help tell the stories of our Latino, Chicano, and Mexican-American history, and have an important place in our communities,” Laura E. Aldrete, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development’s Landmark Preservation team, said in a statement.The City and County of Denver is a proud partner in helping CMCP preserve this legacy, which includes helping develop preservation tools for the murals, establishing cultural districts like in the La Alma Lincoln Park neighborhood, and working with our communities to protect meaningful places where murals like these exist.”

The changing climate and the harshness of Colorado’s environment are adding to the threat of losing these murals forever. As the communities develop, there is little legal action that can be taken to protect the murals. The Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Project is working to survey, designate, protect, and preserve the murals for future generations.

“The Chicano/a/x community believes that erasure of these murals is more than a loss of artwork, it is an erasure of cultural identity and a signal that Chicano/a/x heritage ‘does not matter.’ In many instances, the murals were created by the community, for the community—literally illustrating the significance of these neighborhoods,” Lucha Martinez de Luna, the Director of CMCP, said in a statement. She continues, “The murals represent the memory of a people. They say “I am here” and validate voices who are facing ever fewer cultural support systems.”

You can learn more about the Colorado murals at the Chicano/a/x Murals of Colorado Project.