South LA

‘It’s a beautiful thing’: Mural celebrates Chesterfield Square Park

A mural now covers a repaired park bathroom that had been set on fire earlier this year.

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Earlier this summer, the park bathroom at the heart of Chesterfield Square Park had been set ablaze by a vandal. Today, it’s wrapped in a mural.

Brightly-colored lemons and oranges are meticulously painted against a sky-blue background to symbolize the fruit grown in the area.

A yellow bike, a pair of shoes and a metro bus are hand-painted to represent the various modes of transportation residents use.

“The design was [created] to represent the people and the community,” said Mel Depaz, the 25-year-old muralist who spent three months planning and nine days painting to create a four-sided mural on the park’s bathroom walls.

Depaz was chosen for the project by the Chesterfield Square Block Club, a volunteer-run organization dedicated to improving residential life in Chesterfield Square.

Community members gave her water and soda while she painted — and she even had a little help.

According to Depaz, a young girl had stopped playing in the park to watch, mesmerized as Depaz painted her look-alike on one side of the mural.

The next day, she returned to the park and joined Depaz in painting. The girl’s initials are included in the mural.

On another occasion, during a particularly long day of painting, Depaz skipped lunch to continue working on the mural. The fruit vendor up the street noticed Depaz’s commitment to the project and offered a slice of fresh watermelon from their cart.

The fruit vendor’s colorful cart can be found within the mural.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” John Wright, a resident of Chesterfield Square said. “It brightens up the park and makes it look more homey — I appreciate it.”