A vibrant mural by Los Angeles artist Stephanie Mercado will enliven the future transit-oriented development.

East Los Angeles, CA—National Community Renaissance (National CORE) announced today that it has commissioned Los Angeles-based artist Stephanie Mercado to create a community mural on the 3rd & Dangler proposed affordable apartment community. Mercado was selected from a competitive group of over 53 local artists to craft a dynamic mural that will be engaging, attractive, and reflective of the unique cultural history and contemporary happenings of East Los Angeles.

The 30-foot mural will enliven National CORE’s transformational transit-oriented development, 3rd & Dangler, which is tentatively named after its location in the heart of East Los Angeles. The new apartment home community will transform six vacant County-owned lots into a 78-unit affordable housing development conveniently located along the Metro Gold Line. The development will provide a mix of studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom apartment homes with a range of amenities including a community room, public plaza, interior courtyard, onsite parking, laundry facilities, and a rooftop garden. Mercado’s mural, complemented by a thoughtful array of landscaping and vibrant exterior colors, will allow the development to blend into the 3rd Street community.

“National CORE has enjoyed working with the LA art community on 3rd & Dangler and congratulates Stephanie Mercado on her commission,” said National CORE President and CEO Steve PonTell.  “We are honored to be able to visually engage the community and celebrate the diversity of this thriving neighborhood through art.”

Mercado’s mural was selected by an Art Community Stakeholder Panel, with members including the LA County Department of Arts and Culture, Supervisorial District One, and cultural stakeholders and residents who have notable interest and artistic ties to unincorporated East Los Angeles.  Overseen by NOW Art, a public art agency, the committee disseminated a request for proposals and selected the artist based on her cultural connections, her reflection of community values as seen in her preliminary design, and her inclusive outreach plans that will commence in 2021 to finalize her artwork design.

Joel Garcia, a member of the Art Community Stakeholder Panel, applauded the selection of Mercado, stating, “As someone born and raised in Unincorporated East LA, and started their professional art career painting murals under Paul Botello, it was important for me to be involved in this process and help nurture ways in which we support artists from our communities. I also firmly believe in pushing mediums forward and the selection of Stephanie Mercado allows for this project to advance the mural medium but also help make this art form more accessible in a variety of ways, whether physical, creative but most importantly how artists can be a conduit for and help transmit knowledge amongst community members.”

Having overseen the selection process, in conjunction with the Stakeholder Panel and National CORE, NOW Art also commended Mercado. “NOW Art is excited to work with the vibrant artist Stephanie Mercado and help amplify her work in the community that she was born and raised in.  Supporting young female artists and their voices in our urban environments is a fantastic way to encourage others towards cultivating their creative talents,” said Carmen Zella, Owner of NOW Art.

Born and raised in Boyle Heights in a family of artisans, Stephanie Mercado is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is influenced by her life growing up as a working-class Angeleno.  Her imagery of flowers, household items, folklore, and American pop culture explores the proverbial American Dream and the psychology of labor.  In keeping with the theme of the development, Mercado’s work arranges individual elements to form narratives that represent growth and flowering into being.

“It is an honor to be selected for this monumental opportunity to be a part of the cultural and historic fabric of East Los Angeles. I am grateful and humbled to be able to co-create a mural with the East LA community that will inspire future generations of youth, artists, makers, and residents of 3rd & Dangler,” said Mercado. “This commission is a true milestone for me, and for Latinx artists who understand the power of representation and cultural affirmation.”

Her experience growing up around tradespeople introduced her to the tools, craft, and strong work ethic that is necessary to survive in Los Angeles.  In 2020 Metro Art LA selected her work for the Silver Linings series and she was awarded a Printer Training Program artist residency at Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, NM.  In 2019 she received a Career Development Award from the International Print Center New York (IPCNY).  She has also exhibited internationally, including exhibitions in Norway, Italy, and Spain.  Her work is in the permanent collections of the Mexic-Arte Museum in Austin, TX, the Tamarind Institute of Lithography’s archives at the University of New Mexico, the Zuckerman Museum of Art (Kennesaw, GA) and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art (IN). Stephanie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and Painting from California State University, Long Beach.

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About National Community Renaissance (National CORE)

National CORE is one of the nation’s premier affordable housing developers, building award-winning communities and creating a platform for individual and community change. National CORE creates strong, healthy communities where residents can thrive. In partnership with the Hope through Housing Foundation, National CORE provides impactful resident programs and services to help children and teens achieve success, improve families’ financial well-being, and promote senior health and wellness. For more information on National CORE, please visit www.nationalcore.org.

About NOW Art

NOW Art is a 360° public art agency based in Los Angeles. We consult, curate and design contemporary public artworks and activations in local, national, and international markets. Our progressive approach draws on art, architecture, technology, and culture to establish innovative installations and high-profile landmarks. For more information on NOW Art, please visit nowartpublic.com.