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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Your Guide to Santa Ana and Greater OC’s Murals

September 15th marked the start of Hispanic Heritage Month across the nation. Here at Heritage Museum of Orange County, we strive to honor Hispanic heritage not just for one month, but each and every day. If you’ve visited Heritage Museum, you’ve likely had the opportunity to view Siempre Santa Ana. Siempre Santa Ana, created by local artists and volunteer high school students, visualizes the history of the city. The mural’s completion in 2019 coincided with Santa Ana’s 150th Anniversary. Siempre Santa Ana includes portraits of individuals, buildings, wildlife, and other themes that played key roles in the development of the city of Santa Ana. The Hispanic community has been vital to the growth, progress, and the cultural vibrancy of this city and county. Individuals featured prominently on Siempre Santa, like Zenobia Yorba, Virginia Guzman, and Emigdio Vasquez, comprise just a few of the significant members of the Hispanic community who have contributed to Orange County’s history.

This month, we chose to look beyond the nearly twelve acres that make up Heritage Museum of Orange County. Below, you will find a carefully curated guide to murals in the Downtown Santa Ana and the Greater Orange County area that recognize and honor Hispanic heritage. The tours are self-guided, so that you can explore these captivating displays of public art at your leisure. Less than a mile total, you can explore the Downtown Santa Ana tour by foot. The list of Orange County murals spans from Orange to Costa Mesa, and is accessible via car or public transport. You may design your own path through this tour based on your location.

Downtown Santa Ana Mural Tour

    • Stop #1: Virgen de Guadalupe + More

      Location: Plaza de Santa Ana, 300 N. Spurgeon StreetnNearest Business: Yost Theater

      Artist: Cheryl EberlynAbout: La Virgen de Guadalupe appeared to Chichimec peasant Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzinin in 1531 in Northern Mexico. Diego was commanded to tell the bishop to build a church on the Tepeyac Hill where he had come across the apparition. For centuries, Catholics have traveled to Tepeyac to pray and make offerings to the original shrine of La Virgen de Guadalupe. Although many conflate the image with the Virgin Mary, La Virgen de Guadalupe is inspired by the apparition that appeared in Mexico, thus making her the Patron Saint of Mexico. Designed by artist Cheryl Eberly in 2017, this mural is Santa Ana’s own shrine to the La Virgen de Guadalupe, and symbolically upholds the Mexican culture upon which this city was founded.

      Directions to Next Stop: Head down the sidewalk to your left, approaching N. Bush Street. Turn right on N. Bush Street, and cross the street at Fourth Street. Turn left and walk down the sidewalk. Turn to your right at the end of the building, when you see a green Santa Ana Parrot. There you will find the next mural.

    • Stop #2: I am Here…Here to Stay

      Location: 318 N. Bush Street

      Nearest Business: Restaurante Las Cazuelas

      Artist: Marina Aguilera

      About: I am Here…Here to Stay is Santa Ana’s newest tribute to Latina femininity. The portrait features an austere yet gracefully confident woman crowned by a golden circle of light (invoking the symbol of La Virgen de Guadalupe). Colorfully dressed, she sports hoop earrings, which for centuries have been considered a symbol of Latina femininity. Accompanied by an original poem by artist Marina Aguilera, this mural emanates Latina empowerment.

      Directions to Next Stop: Continue down the alleyway to the left of I am Here… Here to Stay. On your right, you will find the next mural.

    • Stop #3: Viva Santa Ana

      Location: 108 E. Fourth Street

      Nearest Business: Restaurante Las Cazuelas

      Artists: Santa Ana Community Artist(a) Coalition

      About: The Santa Ana Community Artist(a) Coalition designed Viva Santa Ana with community input at the forefront. Quintessential images of the city railway, citrus fruits, el paletero (street cart vendor), a green parrot, and children riding carousel animals on Calle Cuatro (Fourth Street), Viva Santa Ana also highlights the members of the Hispanic community which makes up over three quarters of Santa Ana’s population. Farmworkers and a group of citrus workers, who historically were immigrants from Latin American countries, are depicted on the left side of the mural. The right portion of the mural features a couple dancers performing son jarocho, a traditional dance from Veracruz, Mexico. Viva Santa Ana reflects the vibrancy of the city which it betrays.

      Directions to Next Stop: After viewing the Viva Santa Ana, head down the alleyway toward N. Main Street. Turn left at N. Main Street. Continue and cross at Third Street to the other side of the street. Continue on N. Main Street toward Second Street. Cross and turn right at Second Street. Continue on Second Street, and the mural will be on your left.

    • Stop #4: The Border Wall

      Location: 158 W. Second Street

      Nearest Business: Orange County Center for Contemporary Art

      Artist: Orange County Center for Contemporary Art

      About: Commissioned and created by Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, The Border Wall depicts a young boy climbing over the United States-Mexico border wall. This small yet politically and emotionally powerful piece reminds the Santa Ana community of the ongoing turmoil over Mexican and other Latin American immigrants to the United States. Although Santa Ana was declared a sanctuary city back in 2016, Hispanic immigrants are not immune to xenophobia and intolerance.

      Directions to Next Stop: Continue on W. Second Street, past the Artist Village walkway, toward N. Broadway. Turn right at N. Broadway and proceed. Proceed past Fourth Street. Chato’s Bar and Grill will be on your left. Inside Chato’s Bar and Grill, you will find the next mural.

    • Stop #5: Candela

      Location: 400 N. Broadway

      Nearest Business: Chato’s Bar and Grill

      Artist: José Ortiz

      About: Candela, located inside Chato’s Bar and Grill, prominently features La Calavera Catrina, a symbolic figure of Día de los Muertos. Both La Catrina Calavera and Día de los Muertos originate thousands of years ago with indigenous traditions in South and Central America. Indigenous Americans would often place loved ones’ treasured items on an altar to call them back. La Calavera Catrina’s likeness descends from Mictēcacihuātl, the Aztec goddess of the dead. Eventually, these traditions fused with Catholic religious traditions during Spanish colonization to form what we know as Día de los Muertos today. Although it is widely considered a Mexican holiday, people celebrate Día de los Muertos all around the globe, including here in Santa Ana. Heritage Museum of Orange County will be hosting its very own Día de los Muertos celebration on Friday, October 27.

      Directions to Next Stop: Proceed on N. Broadway. Turn right and cross at Fifth Street and proceed past Crear Studio on your right. Turn right at the parking lot entrance, and you will find the next mural.

    • Stop #6: La Madre Naturaleza

      Location: 218 W. Fifth Street

      Nearest Business: Crear Studio

      Artist: Santa Ana Community Artist(a) Coalition

      About: La Madre Naturaleza (Mother Nature) gives tribute to Santa Ana’s namesake. When Spanish colonizer Gaspar de Portolá came across a river in Southern California, he named the surrounding area “Santa Ana” after Saint Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary. In this mural, Saint Anne breathes life into the Santa Ana area. Surrounded by water, crops, plants, and flowers, La Madre Naturaleza signifies the value of Santa Ana’s natural assets, and the need to protect the environment. This artistic call to environmental action was created by the Santa Ana Community Artist(a) Coalition with community input at the forefront.

      Directions to the Next Stop: Proceed into the alleyway to your left. There, you will find the next mural.

    • Stop #7: Santa Ana Reflections

      Location: 214 W. Fifth Street

      Nearest Business: Crear Studio

      Artist: Roger Eyes R.

      About: The largest and most extensive mural on the Downtown Santa Ana tour, Santa Ana Reflections depicts iconic people, places, and ideas for which Santa Ana is known. The Historic H. Clay Kellogg House is featured in the mural on the right-hand side of the left-most wall, surrounded by citrus trees, weaving Heritage Museum into the story of Santa Ana. Other icons are woven into the Santa Ana Reflections mural, including the Bowers Museum, the Santa Ana Water Tower, the former Pacific Electric “Red Car,” and the “Historic South Main” red sign that adorns the Downtown Santa Ana area. The mural also depicts a lowrider car, which became popular with Mexican youth back in the 1940s, and has remained a symbolic staple of Chicano culture, and is popular in Santa Ana and throughout the continent. The centermost section depicts farmworkers workers in Santa Ana fields, calling back to the era in which farmworkers, many of whom were Hispanic, stood up for their rights to better labor conditions. Thus, Roger Eyes R.’s Santa Ana Reflections highlights both the resiliency and the vibrancy of Santa Ana’s Hispanic community.

      Directions to the Next Stop: Proceed into the alleyway to your left. There, you will find the next mural.

    • Stop #8: La Adelita

      Location: 201 W. Fourth Street

      Nearest Business: Hector’s on Broadway

      Artist: Bud Herrera & Kimberly Duran

      About: The nickname “Adelita” was derived from a corrido, or Mexican folk song, written during the Mexican Revolution. Women who participated in the revolution as soldaderas were often referred to as “Adelita.” Over time, the image of Adelita has come to be overly-feminized and objectified, which many feel minimizes women’s contributions. These women served in all ranks of the military, and fought alongside men and sometimes even disguised themselves as men. Herrera and Duran’s mural pays homage to these brave women and to the country of Mexico. Mexican pride and patriotism shines through in this colorful mural.

More Orange County Murals Honoring Hispanic Heritage

    • Cypress Street Historic Mural (El Proletariado de Aztlán)

      Artist: Emigdio Vasquez Sr., restored by Emigdio “Higgy” Vasquez Jr.

      Location: 445 N Cypress St. Orange, CA 92866

    • The Legacy of Cesar Chavez

      Artist: Emigdio Vasquez

      Location: 1530 W. 17th St Santa Ana, CA 92706 (Cesar Chavez Building)

    • Among Heroes

      Artist: Carlos Aguilar

      Location: 1199 N. Custer St., Santa Ana, CA 92701 (Near La Chiquita Market)

    • Recuerdos de mi Pueblo

      Artist: Emigdio Vasquez

      Location: 1214 E. Pomona St. Santa Ana, CA 92707 (inside El Tapatio Dos Mexicanos Grill)

    • Tacos y Carnitas Sahuyao Mural

      Artist: Alex Sanchez (also known as “Siincero”)

      Location: 165 W. Pomona St. Santa Ana, CA 92707

    • Chicano Gothic

      Artist: Emigdio Vasquez

      Location: 2102 S. Flower St., Santa Ana, CA 92707

    • Siempre Santa Ana

      Artists: Moises Camacho and Abram Moya with Valley and Godinez High School students

      Location: 3101 W. Harvard St. Santa Ana, CA 92704

    • Las Poderosas

      Artists: Alicia Rojas, Camilo Romero, and the Santa Ana Community Artist(a) Coalition

      Location: Baker St. & Killybrooke Ln., Costa Mesa, CA 92626