Lucy D. Barker 6:13 p.m., May 23
Tragedy struck the artist community of Chicano Park June 29th, when one of the painters of its world-famous art installation, Michael Schnorr, took his own life by jumping off the Coronado bridge.
His murals are prominent among the 72 which adorn the legs that support the bridge, and he and other artists had just completed the restoration of many of the 40-year-old murals most in need of restoration. He had recently retired after 39 years' teaching art at Southwestern College.
Athough Schnorr was not Latino, his 60-foot high mural, “The Undocumented Worker,” painted in 1980, is one of the best-known in Chicano Park. It tells of the struggles, the plight and the universal rights of undocumented workers.
July 14th, friends, relatives and admirers came together in Chicano Park to remember Schnorr, with Aztec dances, speeches, and reminiscences. Although ceremonies centered around the kiosk, many people also came by the pylon where his “Undocumented Worker” mural stands freshly re-emblazoned, to lay flowers, other mementoes, burn incense, say prayers, and remember Michael.
One of those was David Avalos, a professor at CSU San Marcos, and a good friend of Schnorr’s. We talked beside the base of the mural about how it came about, how a non-Latino became so important a contributor to Chicano Park, and what inspired Schnorr to create this tribute to the "undocumented worker."
Schnorr had just turned 67. He left behind a wife, two children and countless admirers.