New sculpture in Gumbiner Park a ‘High Five’ to Long Beach

A colorful new sculpture by local artist Jorge Mujica has been installed at Gumbiner Park in Long Beach for the public to enjoy.

The title, “Long Beach High Five,” echoes Mujica’s appreciation for the city, he said, while the aesthetic is inspired by the Aztec monolith, Tlaloc, which sits outside the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.

“I felt the parallel of my artwork and that of my ancestors was important.”

This is Mujica’s first public art project; the City of Long Beach worked with the Museum of Latin American Art to commission the piece.

“Long Beach has so much talent to offer and it is important for our community to feel connected to the improvements in our City,” said Long Beach Public Works Executive Assistant Jennifer Carey. “A local artist has a more unique and specialized perspective of the City and is able to connect more with the surrounding community.”

Viewers can trace the design’s curvatures to find multiple Long Beach landmarks, including the Queen Mary, Gerald Desmond Bridge and Art Theatre.

Artist Jorge Mujica’s sculpture “Long Beach High Five” at Gumbiner Park in Long Beach, Monday, May 28, 2019. The sculpture was commissioned by MOLAA and the City of Long Beach. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

“From design, the size, and thickness of the aluminum, to the industrial paint, to the over-the-top platform and fence, which the city insisted on, everything about this [process] has been state of the art,” Mujica said.

For the past three years, Mujica has been bringing local and international artists to exhibit in Long Beach through his modest studio space in the East Village, Creative Arts Coalition to Transform Urban Space (CACtTUS). Before that, he worked out of an Art Exchange studio and was also a studio artist at MADE by Millworks.

He continues to pursue his Free Standing Painting (FSP) concept. In March, he collaborated with 17 local artists to bring a group of the tripod, plywood sculptures to show at Other Places Art Fair in San Pedro.

“Long Beach High Five” public art by Jorge Mujica who stands next to his art at Gumbiner Park in Long Beach Monday, May 28, 2019. The art has just recently been installed at the park, its made of urethane paint on water-jet aluminum sheet its 110X551/2X24 inches. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

“It is especially significant that this project is so intimately inspired in the City of Long Beach and is created by a Long Beach-based Latino artist, Jorge Mujica,” MOLAA CEO and President Lourdes Ramos said in a statement.

The aluminium piece was paid for with remaining California State Parks grant funds that were given for the construction of Gumbiner Park, according to public works, while Jon Seaton with Standard Sculpture, LLC assisted with manufacturing.

Gumbiner Park is located on Alamitos Avenue across the street from MOLAA at 628 Alamitos Ave. and next to the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum at 695 Alamitos Ave.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.