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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.

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Mari Aug. 3, 2012 @ 4:34 p.m.

I am so sorry to hear that Michael is gone, he was such an inspiration. I was honored to be one of his students that worked in the mural the "Undocumented Worker", we worked one whole summer from morning to night, an unforgettable experience to say the least, my condolences to his beautiful family.....he will be missed!!!


NarrReaderSD Aug. 5, 2012 @ 3:14 p.m.

This is a very worthwhile article, to add to the recent one also by Bill Manson which gives background on the park itself..

The video interview is very rewarding - both to listen to David Avalos talk about his friend, and to see some of the murals when they are described.

Much better than flashing by via car or bus...


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