Three new L.A. murals celebrate Special Olympics World Games 2015

Three new L.A. murals celebrate Special Olympics World Games 2015
Kent Twitchell's "Special Olympics Monument," pictured here while it was still in progress, will be dedicated on Tuesday. Now located on Hope Street between 10th and 11th streets in Los Angeles, it will be one of three murals commemorating the Special Olympics. (Kent Twitchell)

Public murals and the Olympic Games seem to go hand in hand. The epic drama of athletic competition and global participation inspires concrete canvases that linger for years on buildings in host cities. Kent Twitchell's "Jim Morphesis Monument" and "Lita Albuquerque Monument," both created for the 1984 Olympic mural series, still reside along the 101 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, another Twitchell mural will be unveiled, this one commemorating the 2015 Special Olympics World Games that take place this month at the Los Angeles Coliseum.


The new Twitchell work will be dedicated Tuesday along with murals by David Flores and Cryptik. All adorn buildings near the Coliseum.

Twitchell's "Special Olympics Monument," at 1147 S. Hope St., is a double portrait of Special Olympics ambassadors Rafer Johnson and Loretta Claiborne. Rafer, an Olympic gold medalist, is a founder of Special Olympics Southern California. Claiborne is a former Special Olympics athlete.

Flores' "World Stage Legacy," at the Coliseum, is a group portrait of Special Olympics figures as well as athletes and performers who have appeared at the Coliseum.

"The Greatest," by Cryptik, depicts Muhammad Ali surrounded by plaques bearing inspirational quotes from Special Olympics athletes. The mural is at 1248 S. Figueroa St.

The works were organized by the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles in partnership with Toyota. Throughout the games, the car company will aggregate social media activity around the event under the hashtag #sharethejourney.

"The mural project leaves a historical monument to our athletes' spirit, determination and courage," long after the games end, said Patrick McClenahan, president and chief executive of the Special Olympics organizing committee LA2015. About 7,000 athletes from more than 175 countries will partake in this year's Special Olympics. The opening ceremony is July 25.