Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles

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Volume 10, Number 1 -- Winter, 2000



by Robin Dunitz

If you're reading this newsletter, it's probably safe to assume you appreciate murals. Maybe, like me, you sometimes purposely go out of your way in search of new murals, even driving the long way around to your destination when you have time. Perhaps you know a muralist who's raised your awareness. Or are an artist of some sort yourself.

Now it's time to take the next step. It's time to come on a mural tour with the Mural Conservancy, where you'll meet a congenial group of cultured Angelenos who also love street art. You'll meet wonderful, talented muralists who explain how and why they do what they do. You'll find out first-hand what special people muralists are. Getting off the freeway and visiting neighborhoods you've never been to before gives a whole new perspective of and new insights into our complex, diverse city.

Each tour is organized around a theme or focuses on a particular culture and/or neighborhood. For our first season of tours in the new millenium, the Mural Conservancy will feature four of our most popular tours, including a reprise of 1999's sold-out Metro Rail Art Tour, as well as a brand new tour of local mosaics. The tours generally last from 9 AM to 5 PM. There is a one-hour lunch stop, where participants are on their own in an area of local restaurants. You are welcome to bring a lunch, if you prefer. Feel free to bring along your camera. The murals are quite photogenic.

Bus tours cost $25 per person, or $20 for MCLA members, students, low-income seniors and groups of five or more. The Metro Rail tour, which travels by train, costs $15 or $10 for members, etc.


Any organizational Board consists of a small group of people who oversee ongoing business and establish the policies for that organization. Many prefer to operate behind closed doors in order to do business efficiently. While the practice might keep out points of view that distract from the business at hand, it also keeps out new ideas and talent.

MCLA’s policy has always been that the Board meetings are open to members. Recently we decided to publish advance dates and locations in the Newsletter to emphasize the point. So if you are thinking you might want to get more involved, or just have a desire to sit in, or have an issue you want to raise, here is the upcoming year’s schedule of Board meetings. They are held alternating months in the homes and studios of Board members. Normally--but not always--meeting dates are on the last Tuesday of the month starting at 7:30pm.

So mark you calendars for 2000, and call if you need directions. It’s always a good idea to call MCLA to check in advance, as specific dates and locations are subject to change:

• Tuesday, March 28th, 7:30pm. Robin Dunitz’ house, 12610 Sarah St., Studio City, near the 101 Freeway and Coldwater Canyon.

• Tuesday, May 30th, 7:30pm. Michelle Isenberg’s house at 8720 Shoreham Dr. #A in West Hollywood, near Sunset Blvd. and La Cienega.

• Tuesday, July 25th, 7:30pm. Tentatively at Art Mortimer’s house, 144 Fraser Ave. in Santa Monica, near Ocean Park and Main St.

• Tuesday, September 26th, 7:30pm. The MCLA condo (Judith Hoffberg), 1039 Tenth St., #1, Santa Monica, off of Pico Blvd. just east of Lincoln.

• Tuesday, November 28th, 7:30pm. Robin Dunitz’ house, 12610 Sarah St., Studio City, near the 101 Freeway and Coldwater Canyon.


by Margarita Nieto


Los Angeles Times story about Leo Katz’ mural, “Man and His Inventions”, June, 1935.

The Federal Work Project Act murals of the thirties, and the mural renaissance which has occurred since the late sixties, established murals and muralism as the quintessential visual hallmarks of Los Angeles. But even as far back as 1932, the year the city hosted its first Olympic Games, murals were already viewed as important aesthetic monuments. Art writer Arthur Millier, writing in the Los Angeles Times, pointed out that a “Mural-Painting Tour” would be a valid way of entertaining visitors attending the games. Two years later, the Los Angles Art Association Mural Art Committee published a Preliminary Catalogue entitled Mural Decorations to See in Los Angeles Territory to accompany the exhibition Mural Painting, a Civic Asset, which was organized by the Los Angeles Art Association and held at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Both lists are tantalizing because they conjure images of a metropolis lost in another space and time, one in which a sense of civic pride in murals and their creators seems so evident. Among the works mentioned by Millier for example, are two Ballin murals in private homes, those of the bankers, Milton E. Getz and Ben Meyer in Beverly Hills.


Appearing on May 29, Millier’s article mixes beautifully decorative panels such as Julian Garnsney’s ceilings at UCLA’s Royce Hall, with actual murals. In a detailed description the soon-to-be-completed Cornwell murals at the Los Angeles Public Library, Millier describes them as “. . .some of the most impressive wall decorations the country can offer.”, while also noting Albert Herter’s panels in the history room. Ballin’s prodigious production is evident: Millier lists at least five by him, crediting him as well for the sketch of Pallas Athens on the entrance of the Olympic Stadium (the Coliseum). Department stores--Barker Brothers (Maynard Dixon’s Hopi murals), Bullocks Wilshire (Ojura Stojana, Hermann Sachs) Robinson’s (Millard Sheets, whose work is also in the State Mutual building next to the Philharmonic Auditorium) Dawson’s Book shop (Gile Steele) are listed as well as theaters. Albert Herter at the Warner Brothers in Hollywood, Christian von Schneidau at the Forum on Pico, and André Durenceau at the Leimert Theater all appear in this 1932 inventory and are already missing, as is Jorge Juan Crespo Jr.’s Plaza Center mural, from the more extensive 1934-1935 catalogue.

“Arranged according to location,” this list includes downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Pasadena and “surrounding communities” extending as far north as Santa Barbara, south to San Diego, west to Santa Monica and Catalina Island and east to El Centro. It includes three controversial works, doomed to disappear: Maxine Albro’s Sibyls fresco at the Wilshire Ebell, Leo Katz’ Wiggins Trade School mural, American CraftTraditions, and David Alfaro Siqueiros’ Olvera Street mural, simply entitled Mexico, as well as his Stamp Speech, the fresco produced at the Chouinard School of Art on 741 South Grand. It is intriguing to see the number of murals produced by this time. In Los Angeles and Hollywood 57 appeared on this list.

Writing in Saturday Night (Nov. 5, 1934) about the exhibition, Harry Muir Kurzworth points out that in the last five years, “. . .mural painting is. . .becoming a civic asset to many Southern California communities.” He also mentions that the exhibition covers the ideas, sketches, drawings and the full-sized cartoons for many of them. Also planned were two lecture series opening with the chairman of the Association Mural Painting Committee, Barse Miller, speaking to the theme topic. In order to make the material more accessible to a greater number of people toward the objective of “. . .helping young people enjoy good taste as an element of good citizenship; and developing southern California as one of the great cultural centers of the new world,” Mrs. Ione Bellamy Harkness (the former chair of the Federation of Women’s Clubs) arranged an outreach program using ‘lantern slides’ and also arranged school tours to visit the murals.
Ah yes, it was another time.


News Briefs


All murals located within the City of Los Angeles, whether on public or private property, and whether City-sponsored or painted by independent artists or organizations, must obtain final approval from the Cultural Affairs Commission before they are executed.

The procedure for approval of murals is as follows: (1) Obtain an application from the Murals Coordinator at the City of Los Angeles, Cultural Affairs Department. Applications may be mailed or faxed by calling (213) 485-9570 to request a Mural Application. (2) Schedule an appointment to submit Mural Application and all necessary support documents to the Cultural Affairs Deptartment. (3) Once submitted murals are placed on the next Public Art Committee meeting agenda, attend Public Art Committee meeting and answer any questions about the project. (4) Attend Cultural Affairs Commission meeting and answer any questions about the project. Obtain conceptual and final approval from the Commission.

Leslie Fischer
Public Art Coordinator, L.A. Cultural Affairs Department



compiled by Robin Dunitz

The following new murals were completed through December, 1999. If you want your public to know about your newest mural, please send the information, along with a picture if possible, to Robin Dunitz, PO Box 5483, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413. Or you can call (818) 487-0416


Artist unknown, Untitled, c. 1870s. De la Osa Adobe, interior, Los Encinos State Historic Park, Encino. Sponsored by the Garnier family.
Exposed after the building was damaged during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, it took another five years before the murals were discovered in August under a layer of overpainting. Much work remains to be done before the murals will be completely visible.

Paul Doolin, Monrovia Airport 1928-1953, 1997. Lucky/Sav-on, 725 East Huntington Dr., Monrovia. Ceramic tile.
The subject is the old local airport, which was located across the street.

Mark Stock, Enrapture: Scene 1, 1999. 4th Street and Boylston, downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles Center Studios. Two images, 35 x 61’ each, photo-enlargements on vinyl of paintings.
Open-end narrative realist images of a woman evesdropping (right image) and a broken vase of flowers (left image). Two more murals will follow in 2000 and 2001.

Eric Ernest Johnson, Pleasures of the Harbor, 1999. 1424 Second Street, Santa Monica. Three stories high.
The mural depicts southern Californians' love for water, sun and sea. "A body of water, with its currents and waves, is central to the theme of the mural and to much of my work. After all, I am a Pisces." Eric Johnson.


Elliott Pinkney, Getting to Know You, 1999. Sativa County Water District Office, 2015 East Hatchway St., Compton. Acrylic.
Replaces another Pinkney mural, Community Heroes, painted in 1990. The themes are similar, images from African American and Mexican American cultures.

Raul Baltazar and students, A Life is a Terrible Thing to Waste, 1999. Community Youth Sports and Arts Foundation, 4828 Crenshaw Blvd., South Los Angeles. 13' x 47', sponsored by the L.A. Theatre Works' Arts & Children Project

Elliott Pinkney, Getting to Know You, 1999. Sativa County Water District Office, 2015 East Hatchway St., Compton.


Richard Wyatt, Sunrise on Central Avenue, 1999, Broadway Federal Bank, interior lobby, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at Figueroa St., South L.A.

Alan Clancy, A Healing Wall, 1999. Sunset Blvd and Elysian Park, Echo Park. Three stories tall.
Spiritual painting featuring a portrait of Aimee Semple McPherson

Richard Wyatt, Sunrise on Central Avenue, 1999, Broadway Federal Bank, interior lobby, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at Figueroa St., South L.A. Sponsored by the bank.
Among the portraits are gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, jazz musician Buddy Collette, Duke Ellington, Cesar Chavez and architect Paul Williams. The central figure, wearing a green jacket, is the bank's founder.


Also recently completed near L.A. County:

Synthia St. James, Diversity, 1998. Ontario International Airport, Terminal 2 Baggage Area, Ontario. Ceramic tile.
A vibrantly colored, faceless crowd of people. The artist also designed the Kwanzaa postage stamp.

Ricardo Duffy, Past Vista, 1998. Ontario International Airport, Terminal 2 Concourse, Ontario. Ceramic
A citrus grove stretching toward Mt. San Antonio.

Richard Wyatt, Pioneers in American Aviation History, 1998. Ontario International Airport, Terminal 4 Concourse, Ontario. Ceramic tile.
Among the significant aviation pioneers depicted are Tuskegee Airman Buddy Archer; Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic astronaut; the Wright brothers; Amelia Earhart; and Maggie Gee, one of the first Chinese American female service pilots.

Raúl Anguiano, The Multicultural Mural, 1999. Bowers Museum of Cultural Art (main entrance), 2002 North Main Street, Santa Ana.
The first of two to be painted by this renowned 84-year-old Mexican muralist. The second is due to be completed in early 2000.



Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles Journal

Published quarterly, © 2000, Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA).

Editor: Bill Lasarow
Contributing Editors:
Robin Dunitz, Orville O. Clarke, Jr., Margarita Nieto, Nathan Zakheim
Masthead Logo Design: Charles Eley.

The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles was formed to help protect and document murals, and enhance public awareness of mural art in the greater Los Angeles area. These programs are made possible by the tax-deducible dues and donations of our members, the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, the California Arts Council, the National/State/County Partnership Program, and the Brody Fund of the California Community Foundation.