A Mural Once Familiar to Thousands of Farm Workers Comes Home to the Coachella Valley

The Artwork, Commissioned by My Old Boss Billy Steinberg, Is a Reminder That There’s an Alternative to Today’s Brutal Agribusiness

This month, a mural once familiar to thousands of farm workers in the Coachella Valley returns home. It depicts more than just the vineyards and grape pickers at David Freedman Company, where I once worked. It documents a path not taken for California agriculture, and its rural communities.

The mural—which is being donated to the city of Coachella by my old boss Billy Steinberg—was first commissioned for the company’s new packing plant and offices in the unincorporated town of Thermal, more than 40 years ago.

The 14-foot-by-7-foot work was created in …

How My Great-Grandfather Dealt With a Lout Named Jack London | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How My Great-Grandfather Dealt With a Lout Named Jack London

A Muralist Finds Herself Captivated by the Bay Area Writer, Crusader for Justice, and Drunken Brawler

Growing up in the Bay Area, I heard a lot of family lore about Jack London, and my great-grandfather George Samuels.

Samuels had been a district attorney, a police court judge, …

Ed Ruscha and the Art of Being in Los Angeles

The Artist Captures the Deeply Two-Dimensional City Like No One Else

Ed Ruscha is expected to reappear in Los Angeles this summer, after having been absent for a decade. Ruscha is the artist who famously didn’t leave, when leaving L.A. for …

The Greatest Muralist You’ve Never Heard Of

The Work of One of L.A.’s Best Chicano Folk Artists Has Largely Been Forgotten

Manuel G. Cruz has produced the best folk art I have encountered in Los Angeles. Through his religious and historical murals, he proves himself a good storyteller and colorist, with …

A Piece of Home in a Lost Mural

Last summer I went on a bit of fact-finding mission to little National City, just across the municipal border from San Diego’s south side. Every summer and school break when …