City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture
In Barrio Logan during the 1930s, the Aztec Brewing Company created an imaginative and popular beer tasting room called the rathskeller. With murals, stained-glass windows and painted architectural elements, the rathskeller was kind of a mash up of Art Deco Mexico and the lavish Hollywood sets of the 1920s and '30s. José Moya del Pino , a renowned Spanish artist whose work was influenced by Diego Rivera, painted two vibrant murals of Mexican people. Beer aficionados happily bellied up to a tiled bar installed beneath wrought iron chandeliers and painted wood ceiling beams.
But by the 1980s, the rathskeller was threatened with demolition. Artists in the burgeoning Chicano art movement and Barrio Logan residents rallied around the legendary building and its furnishings. In 1988, the community succeeded in having the rathskeller and its artistic contents designated a City of San Diego historic landmark. When the rathskeller's supporters could no longer stave off redevelopment, the building was demolished in 1990, and its historic contents went into the City's art collection.
Thanks to creative fundraising and professional conservation, the City's Commission for Arts and Culture has restored the rathskeller collection and installed it at the Logan Heights Library. Not only is this artwork back in the neighborhood where it belongs, it is available for all to enjoy at no charge.
In addition, the commission's art conservation program recently restored important historic artworks in Balboa Park. Among them are the sculptural fountain called La Tehuana, Woman of Tehuantepec by Donal Hord, in the House of Hospitality courtyard; the monumental equestrian bronze sculpture El Cid Campeador by Anna Hyatt Huntington; and the Progress of Man mural by Belle Baranceanu in the Balboa Park Club.
SOHO commends the Commission for Arts and Culture for Stewardship of this irreplaceable artwork that is available for all to enjoy in Balboa Park and the Logan Heights Library.
(Pictured left to right - Dustin Gilmore of Artworks San Diego, Alexis Miller of Balboa Art Conservation Center, Wendell Eckholm of Artworks San Diego, and Christine Jones of the Commission for Arts and Culture); all photos by Sandé Lollis, except top center courtesy award winners
PAST PEOPLE IN PRESERVATION AWARD WINNERS