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Mural Of MLK's Power To Move People Unveiled In San Diego

San Diego's first large scale memorial honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., America's most famous civil rights leader is now on display. It's on an embankment stretching between Home and Euclid avenues along Highway 94.

ML King Mural
Mural Of MLK's Power To Move People Unveiled In San Diego
It took seven years to complete the Martin Luther King commemorative artwork.

The wrapping off a piece of San Diego public art finally came down, seven years after the project went up along a busy stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. Freeway heading eastbound. "On my god," was the reaction from artist Phillip Matzigkeit.

He's the main artist chosen in 2005 by the city of San Diego's Commission for the Arts and Culture to complete the project. "I drove across the bridge and got a glimpse of it," he told fellow artist and partner in the project Neil Shigley.


They were getting a close up view of the Dr. Martin Luther King Commemorative Artwork. It's about 20 feet high at its peak and 225 feet long.

"Seeing it in place there's no way of comparing it to a computer screen or print out on a piece of paper to the impact that it has on where it is right now," Matzigkeit said.

The images using stencil are so lifelike you can almost imagine Dr. King speaking the words "I Have A Dream."

"This man has changed so many lives," Neil Shigley said. His job was to create the three different images of King on the mural.

"He's changed the lives for people in this country and around the world, how people think about themselves and other people," Shigley said. He actually lives in the neighborhood and says his objective was to capture the likeness of the civil rights leader. "If even one person looks at this and gets some kind of sense of his spirit then wow. Victory big time," Shigley said with a smile.


The artist says the mural is a symbol of Dr. King's power to move people. "Anybody who's ever listened to any of his speeches can't help but be moved and recognize that this man was an extraordinary being," Matzigkeit said. Both Matzigkeit and Shigley are instructors in the School of Art Design and Art History at San Diego State University. A public ceremony will be held on Saturday, October 20 to recognize the new public art piece.