"200 Years of Freedom" from bicentennial mural is painted during week 1

Freedom Returns to Prado Dam in 2023

Hello, esteemed supporters, friends and fellow champions of freedom, thank you for joining us on this voyage as we embark on a shared mission to restore the Bicentennial Freedom Mural. As you may know, One Way Painting was entrusted with the restoration of this beloved artwork at Prado Dam, kicking off the project in 2023. Today, we are excited to share our first progress report, unveiling the resurrection of ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ at Prado Dam.

April 7, 2023: '200 YEARS OF FREEDOM' at Prado Dam
The powerful phrase ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ in striking red Returns to Prado Dam on April 7, 2023

A Tribute to Veterans: Honoring Their Sacrifices

At the heart of the phrase ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ lies a profound tribute to our honored veterans.

American Flag representing the sacrifices our heroes made for our freedom

This artwork carries immense significance for them, serving as a testament to their courage and resilience. Created in 1976, a time when America was emerging from an unpopular war and veterans were regrettably overlooked, the mural stands as a powerful homage to their unwavering service. When the mural succumbed to defacement and disrepair, it was not just the paint that suffered but also the hearts of our veterans.

Above all else, this mural serves as a timeless tribute to the brave individuals who courageously fought to protect our cherished freedoms. It stands as a symbol of our gratitude and respect for their sacrifices and reminds us of the foundation upon which our liberty is built. The restoration and preservation of this mural ensure that the legacy of our veterans endures, and that their sacrifices are never forgotten.

Actors Reading E-mails from Supporters of Bicentennial Mural Restoration, Friends of the Prado Dam Mural

Restoring ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ At Prado Dam

In 8 days, our team successfully brought ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ back to the dam. This marked a significant milestone in our restoration journey. But, before we delve into the process, let us recap the progress made thus far.

Recap of Our Journey So Far

  • Our 24-day mission began at the end of 2022. We mapped and documented every detail of the vintage mural over two days, creating a blueprint for the work ahead.
  • Following this, our involvement in the mural restoration briefly paused for lead-abatement while specialized team of experts safely removed the vintage mural, over several months.
  • Finally, at the beginning of April, the spillway was a blank canvas, marking the beginning of our next phase.

Prep Work: Laying Out ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ at Prado Dam

We returned to the dam on April 3, 2023, ready to embark on the remaining 22 days of our planned 24-day restoration journey. We were eager to start painting, but we knew we had some prep work to do first. The majority of the first two days, April 3rd and 4th, were spent focused on this prep work.

Guided by our detailed map, we positioned each letter and number in ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ on the spillway, matching corners, edges and sides with utmost precision.

Laying out letters for 200 years of freedom at Prado Dam on April 3, 2023
measuring layout of letters in 200 years of freedom on April 3, 2023

The spillway’s 36 panels served as our reference points, guaranteeing an accurate placement.

Painting Prado Dam Red

With the patriotic phrase carefully mapped out, we started painting ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ in bold red on Wednesday, April 5, 2023. Over the following three days, we continued painting and proudly restored the powerful message of ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ on that unforgettable Friday, April 7th.

"E" in "Freedom" up close

The sheer size of each letter is truly awe-inspiring. Just look how small this painter appears compared to the letter. The towering height of each letter, at nearly 30 feet, makes the individual painting them appear minuscule.

From Above: Spectacular Overhead Shots

Prepare to be amazed by the extraordinary aerial footage provided by Alan Sturm, a bona fide FAA licensed drone pilot. Thanks to the remarkable skills and generousity of Alan, we now have a collection of breathtaking images showcasing the phrase ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ standing tall and proud at the Prado Dam.

Painting the White Background

Following the completion of the striking red letters of ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM,’ we turned our focus to the white background around them starting on April 10th. With this purpose in mind, we continued painting the background over the next three days. Finally, on April 12th, we achieved the remarkable milestone, bringing ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ back to its full glory at Prado Dam.

As you look at these pictures, you may notice a small unpainted strip at the bottom. However, don’t worry! This area will only be temporarily left unpainted, as it will be painted by politicians and dignitaries during a future ceremonial celebration.

Thanking Our Incredible Sponsors of ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’

At this time, we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the 17 wonderful folks in our community who generously donated $2,000 each to sponsor a letter or number in the phrase ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’. All in all, they contributed a whopping total of $34,000 towards the restoration.

sponsors of '200 YEARS OF FREEDOM' for restoration of Prado Dam Mural in 2023
Bicentennial Mural Sponsors of the phrase ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’

With great appreciation, we extend our deepest thanks to the following sponsors of ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’:

  • ‘2’ – sponsored in Memory of Dave DiPaolo
  • ‘0’ – sponsored by the Moore Family
  • ‘0’ – sponsored by ABC Hopes
  • ‘Y’ – sponsored by Michael Schwartz
  • ‘E’ – sponsored by The Duane Family
  • ‘A’ – sponsored by The Acosta Family
  • ‘R’ – sponsored by MSgt James Whitney & MSgt Leslie Whitney
  • ‘S’ – sponsored by The Schaefer Family
  • ‘O’ – sponsored by Travis Tandy of Tandy Consulting
  • ‘F’ – Bobby & Karen Spiegel in Memory of Mayor Flora Spiegel
  • ‘F’ – sponsored in dedication to Richard & Donna Beach
  • ‘R’ – sponsored by Mike in Remembrance of Our Loved Ones
  • ‘E’ – sponsored by Evans Gun World
  • ‘E’ – sponsored by Corona Elks Lodge #2045
  • ‘D’ – sponsored by Dimas Legacy Insurance Solutions
  • ‘O’ – sponsored by Freeway Isuzu
  • ‘M’ – sponsored by The Minor Family

Bridging the Past and Present: Sponsor Stories

Each of these sponsors holds a special place in the legacy of this mural. And some of these sponsors even leave their mark on both the vintage artwork and its restoration today.

Take the ‘2’, sponsored in memory of David DiPaolo, who played a pivotal role in the original project back in 1976. As the activities director of Corona High School, he championed the mural’s creation and was a vital resource for the students. Similarly, the Shaefer family’s sponsorship of the letter ‘S’ in “YEARS” pays tribute to Perry Schaefer, one of the mural’s designers. His artistic legacy not only lives on in the mural’s design but also in the creation of the restored artwork.

Another noteworthy example is the sponsorship of the ‘F’ in ‘OF’ by Bobby & Karen Spiegel, honoring Mayor Flora Spiegel, who served as the mayor of Corona during the mural’s initial painting and was a fervent supporter of the ambitious idea conceived by 30 high school students. Continuing the legacy, Representative Karen Spiegel, following in her mother-in-law’s footsteps, has remained a steadfast advocate for the mural’s restoration for over a decade.

Thanking Our Paint Donors

Additionally, we also want to thank our generous paint donors, Dunn Edwards and Rust-Oleum. These incredible companies stepped up and provided all the paints needed for this project.

Timelapse: Restoring ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’

Get ready to be mesmerized as we present a timelapse video showcasing the remarkable restoration journey of ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ at Prado Dam. Watch as our dedicated team brings this patriotic phrase back to life.

Timelapse: One Way Painting Brings 200 YEARS OF FREEDOM back to Prado Dam


In conclusion, the restoration of ‘200 YEARS OF FREEDOM’ at Prado Dam stands as a testament to the power of community, honoring veterans and preserving our shared heritage for generations to come. Thanks for staying with us today and we hope you found it interesting. Next time, we’ll be reviving the Liberty Bell.

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