High five at Gumbiner Park

"High Five" has a home in Gumbiner Park.

In the works since 2017, Long Beach High Five, described as a “freestanding painting” by the artist, has been installed in Gumbiner Park, near Sixth Street and Alamitos Avenue, adjacent to the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum and across the street from the Museum of Latin American Art.

The 6 foot-by-3 foot-by-3 foot, vibrant art installation by Long Beach artist Jorge Mujica is ready for the public to visit and enjoy. If scrutinized carefully, viewers can follow the design’s curvatures to locate Long Beach landmarks, such as the Queen Mary, the Gerald Desmond Bridge and the Art Theatre.

The city of Long Beach provided funding for the sculpture, and the sculpture is now part of MoLAA’s art collection.

“The collaboration between the city of Long Beach and the Museum of Latin American Art reaffirms the commitment to promote and support artistic expression for the community’s benefit," Dr. Lourdes Ramos-Rivas, MoLAA president, said. "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.”

Jorge Mujica was born in Mexico City and raised in Los Angeles. Mujica’s interest in art was piqued as he traveled with his father, a photojournalist for the Spanish language newspaper La Opinion. He informed his art with an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Art History from CSU Bakersfield, an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the Arts Institute of Chicago, and a MFA in Painting from Yale University.

After completing his studies, Mujica relocated to Hollywood, working as an independent artist and curator. In 2014 Mujica opened a studio in Long Beach. In 2017, he co-founded Creative Arts Coalition to Transform Urban Space (CACtTUS), a donation-based project space for emerging contemporary artists in a live/work storefront in downtown Long Beach.

According to Mujica, “Long Beach High Five,” reflects his admiration for Long Beach — and more.

“The aesthetic is inspired by the Aztec monolith, Tlaloc, which sits outside the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City," he said. "I felt the parallel of my artwork and that of my ancestors was important.”

He continued, “As a Mexican artist living in Long Beach, my imagery is created using line drawings influenced by Aztec iconography. The subject matter of each design poetically reflects the exuberance of a physical presence."

Gumbiner Park is at 880 Seventh St., near Alamitos Avenue and in sight of the Museum of Latin American Art.

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