Trio of Murals Immortalize Special Olympics Athletes’ Journeys into Los Angeles History
Toyota Inspires City to Participate in 2015 Special Olympics World Games and Community Legacy
LOS ANGELES (July 7, 2015) – Today, and decades from now, Los Angeles residents and visitors can discover the spirit of Special Olympics. As part of Toyota’s “Share the Journey” campaign for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, athletes’ uplifting journeys inspired three public murals dedicated today. City leaders joined Toyota executives, artists and Special Olympics fans at the freshly painted Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum mural to ask for participation and a celebration of athletes’ joy and courage.
Like the original freeway murals created for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the Special Olympics-inspired artwork is intended to stand the test of time. Working with the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, the internationally recognized muralist and original 1984 Olympics artist Kent Twitchell returned to create one of his famous realistic portraits. Twitchell’s piece and the two other murals mark the upcoming global event and build on the city’s storied history of outdoor art.
“The murals are a lasting gift to Los Angeles to celebrate the life-changing power of Special Olympics and also honor the rich, artistic history of this city that has embraced us,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America. “Special Olympics is not only an important global sports movement, but also an organization that touches individuals every day around the world. We hope everyone gets to experience the impact and help us cheer on the athletes.”
Fans can cheer during 25 Olympic-style events throughout the region, tune into ESPN coverage or send support through social media that will be displayed on-site. Toyota is collecting athlete encouragements and stories with the hashtag #sharethejourney and at sharethejourney.toyota.com. Competition events are free and open to the public, and tickets for the Opening Ceremony are available for purchase at LA2015.org via Ticketmaster.
All three murals are just blocks away from venues hosting Special Olympics World Games events July 25-August 2. Each weaves in the spirit of Special Olympics through the individual artist’s own iconic vision. Discover stories around each piece at sharethejourney.toyota.com.
- Located at 1147 S. Hope St. in Los Angeles, Twitchell’s piece Special Olympics Monument is a double portrait. Rafer Johnson, an LA icon and Olympic gold medalist as well as founder of Special Olympics Southern California, stands alongside Loretta Claiborne, a successful Special Olympics athlete and motivational speaker.
- Located at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, World Stage Legacy by well-known muralist David Flores pays tribute to the 2015 Special Olympics World Games and events that have taken place at the Coliseum throughout its more than 90-year history. Figures include Special Olympics athlete and World Games Global Messenger, Ramon Hooper alongside iconic figures with a connection to the site.
- Located at 1248 South Figueroa in Los Angeles, The Greatest from the artist Cryptik features a large-scale portrait of boxing legend Muhammad Ali and multiple plaques with inspirational quotations from Special Olympics athletes and advocates. Visitors can move up close to the piece to explore the words and connections.
“Long after the 2015 Special Olympics World Games end in Los Angeles, the mural project leaves a historical monument to our athletes’ spirit, determination and courage,” said Patrick McClenahan, president and CEO of LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee for this year’s event. “Toyota’s partnership and support of the mission of Special Olympics has helped us reach further in spreading the message of acceptance and to make a lasting impact.”
The Special Olympics World Games will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, hosting 177 countries, 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches. It is the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games.
For more information about the Special Olympics World Games, visit www.LA2015.org. For information about Toyota’s philanthropy programs, visit www.toyota.com/usa.
Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 25 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 40,000 people (more than 32,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.5 million cars and trucks (more than 2.2 million in the U.S.) in 2013 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today.
Toyota partners with philanthropic organizations across the country, with a focus on education, safety and the environment. As part of this commitment, we share the company’s extensive know-how garnered from building great cars and trucks to help community organizations and other nonprofits expand their ability to do good. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.
About the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015)
With 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators, the 2015 Special Olympics World Games – being staged in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2, 2015 – will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world in 2015, and the single biggest event in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region. The Opening Ceremony, to be held July 25, 2015 in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators. On April 30, 2014, LA2015 and ESPN announced a global programming deal that will see ESPN bring coverage of World Games to millions of fans around the world. LA2015, the Games Organizing Committee, is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information on the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.LA2015.org and on social with #ReachUpLA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Microsoft, Lions Clubs International, Toys"R"Us, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics, fb.com/specialolympics, youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolympics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
About the Mural Conservancy
MCLA’s mission today, as when it was first founded in 1987, is to restore, maintain and document public mural art in the Los Angeles area. All of the Olympic Freeway Murals were being painted out in 2011 when MCLA committed to the restoration and maintenance of as many as could be successfully rescued. To date MCLA has completed restoration of five of those murals, with a sixth restoration to be completed in 2015. Two on those that remain painted over are candidates for planned restoration in the near future; and two were destroyed in the course of a Harbor Freeway expansion project. To learn more visit http://www.muralconservancy.org / www.facebook.com/muralconservancy.