Long Beach artist gives city's oldest neighborhood a new pop of color with bright murals

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Long Beach is one colorful city, and its oldest neighborhood is getting a bit brighter.

"Not everyone is going to go into a gallery," said Long Beach artist David Gilmore. "So for me, it's exciting to turn a corner and see this incredible mural and there's not someone there to explain it. It's up to you to interpret it."

Gilmore was commissioned by the Arts Council for Long Beach to paint the 130-foot wide, 13-foot high mural at a park in the Wilmore City neighborhood of Long Beach.

"This was my telling the story of my experience in Long Beach. All different faces, walks of life, all together living in harmony," said Gilmore.

Gilmore also painted the entire facade of an apartment complex in the same neighborhood, after his mural at Drake Park caught the eye of a member of the Wilmore City Heritage Association.

"A lot of these apartment buildings that were built, that everyone is very dismissive of, people call them 'cracker box apartments.' They are a part of our history, and they form a statement about our lives," said president of the Wilmore City Heritage Association, Kathleen Irvine.

The Wilmore City Heritage Association helps preserve the oldest homes in Long Beach, in addition to improving the quality of life for its residents in the area. The neighborhood, which is adjacent to downtown Long Beach, is the city's first designated historic district.

The organization that helps protect history is embracing the future, which includes the new artwork in the neighborhood.

"It shows a continuity of time and place. I think that it creates attention to history and the importance of art in our lives," said Irvine. "It's not just about the houses, it's about the people."
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