Friday, June 21, 2013

United Wilmington Youth Foundation Restoring Historical "El Mercadito Market" Mural

The decaying historical mural that adorns the exterior of El Mercadito "Maravilla" market on L and Hyatt streets in Wilmington is finally getting a restoration by members of the United Wilmington Youth Foundation and community volunteers. 

The current owner "Jorge" has occupied the store for the past 33 years. Around the same time in 1979 the mural was painted by Javier Moreno and Mario Falcon. Moreno passed away four years ago and the whereabouts of Falcon are unknown. However, their significant mural has became a cultural historical landmark loved by the community. A much needed restoration of the mural has been necessarily for years. The mural has suffered damage from the past decades of gang warfare in the area. Graffiti and age on the mural have caused some of the original parts to become distorted and worn down. 

Old photographs of original mural are used in restoration 

(Defaced) Jose Maria Morelos Mexican Revolutionary for Independence 

Emiliano Zapata and images of gang truce for peace

Restoration day 4

History of El Mercadito
The building of El Mercadito has been standing in the same place for 113 years. It has gone through about 4 different owners and renovations. The first business was a small gas station then it was turned into a market. Jorge explains, the first two owners were of American decent. As the community  and demographics started to evolve  the market was centered around the Hispanic community. Inside the market there a carneceia and kitchen where people can buy homemade menudo, pupusas, and other antojitos.
Food and Fresh Meat Counter

Original Refrigerators 60-years-old and Still Going
Although I never lived in area, the neighborhood holds significant memories for me. In the 1970s and into the 1990s my parents and family went to church down the street at Holy Family  Catholic Church or better known as Sagrada Familia. The mural on the market was always something I looked at and never forgot as we drove past on L street on the way to mass.  20 years later its no wonder that mural means so much to the community. The impact of the colorful mural captures the spirit of a by-gone era with its cultural pride and message of peace but will continue to impact the newer generations within. 

Important Dates

  • Restoration will continue until June 28, 2013 
  • Cupcake and lemonade sale Saturday June, 22 2013 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. 
  • Youth essay writing contest deadline August 23, 2013 prize $1000 email UWYF for rules on the contest
  • Revealing and celebration September 7, 2013 more details will be posted

Volunteers and supplies are welcome! please stop by Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m

United Wilmington Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization started in 1992 by Santos Trani in order to empower youth in Wilmington to contribute in the community positively and avoid gangs. The non-profit was  revived last year with a new set of energetic youth and mentors ready to start making changes in the community. Follow them on Facebook here

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