Will Rogers Middle School Mural – Long Beach CA

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This mural “Deep Sea Magic” by Oklahoma artist Olinka Hrdy was painted in 1939 with funding from the WPA Federal Art Project. It is composed of two panels, each measuring 6 feet by 19 feet, and is currently located in the foyer of Will Rogers Middle School. Hrdy had the following to say about the mural in 1965:

Well like most of the artists in California I got on the Federal Art Project and naturally I had quite a few decorations behind me so they put me right to work designing murals. And the first mural I did was one called Deep Sea Magic which I did for the Lowell [sic] Junior High School in Long Beach… [T]his giant squid, the tendrils were all of ten feet long, all in purple pink and blues, various colors and this was almost transparent so you could look through it. And look here, all the eyes of all the fish were done with either gold or silver so that when you walk by the mural you see the glitter of these eyes all watching you. (http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-olinka-hrdy-12581)

The school itself is likely a New Deal project as well, as it was constructed in 1935 in a style typical of the New Deal, but more evidence is needed.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.

Location Info

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356 Monrovia Ave
Long Beach, CA 90803

Location notes: Foyer

Coordinates: 33.766453, -118.131187

2 comments on “Will Rogers Middle School Mural – Long Beach CA

  1. Jefferey Kaufmann

    Hello. Approximately 15 years ago, I observed workers at Will Rogers Middle School in Long Beach, Ca cut a door through the Olinka Hrdy mural, ‘Deep Sea Magic’. Your description of the mural does not seem to refer to this alteration. I was concerned at the time and made an effort to communicate my concern to the staff.

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