Updated: Feb 7, 2022
A one-of-a-kind poster initiative celebrating recent improvements in Balboa Park is kicking off with a call for entries from San Diego and Tijuana artists.
The program is an initiative by the Balboa Park Committee of 100 (C100), the park's oldest stakeholder group, and the AIGA San Diego graphic arts organization to celebrate the return of four monumental murals to the San Diego Automotive Museum in the park's Palisades area.
The contest is open to all professional, amateur and student artists in the San Diego-Tijuana region. The Peggy and Robert Matthews Foundation is underwriting the effort.
"We are truly honored to lead the Balboa Park Palisades Restoration Poster Initiative," said AIGA San Diego President Marc Hedges. "We invite young graphic designers as well as established artists to apply their unique and diverse imaginations to Balboa Park and the completed murals project. The initiative aligns with AIGA's Design for Good programming and I am humbled by C100's generosity in supporting us and the local design community."
C100 President Roger Showley said the contest will call attention to the ongoing drive to restore the park's historic buildings, gardens and public spaces, especially in long-overlooked Palisades south of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. AIGA San Diego agreed to manage the program. The submission deadline is September 30.
"The original murals celebrated California's bounty and economic opportunity at the depths of the Great Depression," Showley said. "We look forward to seeing how contestants incorporate some of those scenes and produce collectible posters so beautiful that San Diegans and visitors will be proud to display them in their homes and businesses."
Showley and Hedges said they hope the poster contest will become an annual event to celebrate other improvements in the park in the years ahead.
The four murals -- depicting commerce, scenic beauty, agriculture and industry -- were originally painted on fiberboard by Hollywood artist Juan Larrinaga. They were installed above the entrance to what was originally the California State Building at the California Pacific International Exposition in 1935-36. The 18-foot-high murals were discarded soon after the fair and have been recreated in permanent ceramic tiles after six years of investigation, design and fabrication by RTK Studios in Ojai, Calif. Lost ornamentation also was recreated. The $715,000 effort was funded by donations to C100 from members, supporters and local agencies and institutions.
A jury will select the finalists and the winning poster will be printed and sold to support improvements in the park. Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place winners. All qualifying posters will be showcased on AIGA San Diego's website and a select number of posters will be displayed at the San Diego Automotive Museum.
Contest details are available at aigasdposterproject.com. For more information on C100 and AIGA San Diego: balboaparkcommitteeof100.org and aigasd.org.