Hispanic Heritage of "Los Angeles Teachers"

Public Art in Public Places

Hector Ponce's Public Art Portrait Mural Tribute to Teacher Jaime Escalante and Actor Edward James Olmos

Tribute to a Hispanic Educator

Juan Hector Ponce came to Los Angeles from El Salvador with a background in commercial illustration, creating a wide variety of both cultural and commercial murals in the Los Angeles area. According to the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, Ponce had long had the desire to create a portrait mural of East Los Angeles teacher Jaime Escalante, made famous by the film Stand And Deliver starring Edward James Olmos.

Ponce completed the six-story double-portrait mural in 1997, adding a side panel showing graduating students surrounded by cherubs.

The Escalante and Olmos Collaboration
Ponce chose to portray Olmos and Escalante, each well known for his concern and activism on behalf of education and Hispanic youth, in the guise of collaborators on the film. 

Jaime Escalante is awarded the Presidential Education Award in Mathematics by James Billington, Librarian of Congress Emeritus.

The image appears as if taken on the film set itself: humorously, both are shown with shirt pockets stuffed with pens.

Westlake's Cultural Gem
Few public artworks can match the six-story scale of Ponce's two-sided mural. It dominates the Westlake, Los Angeles neighborhood and complements the nearby historic MacArthur Park. It remains a popular tourist attraction and a tribute to Hispanic culture. 
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