The City of Santa Monica Arts Commission voted to allocate $135,000 in art funding to preserve two murals on Ocean Park Boulevard — “The Whale of a Mural” and “Unbridled.”

The commission hopes the funding will extend the life span of the two murals, located beneath the Fourth Street overpass on Ocean Park Boulevard.

Art commissioners say the murals have served as a gateway to the beach for hundreds of thousands of beachgoers.

Art commissioners say that “Whale of a Mural” — painted in 1983 by Santa Monica resident Daniel Alonzo along the south side of Ocean Park — “places the viewer in the depths of Santa Monica Bay, surrounded by the whales, porpoises, and seals found there.”

David Gordon’s “Unbridled,” painted in 1985 on the north side of the street, depicts the horses of the Santa Monica Pier Carousel escaping the merry-go-round and running free along the beaches.

Art commissioners say that while both of these murals have held up remarkably well for the past 20 years, even in the Santa Monica mild climate the weather — along with a few vandals — has taken its toll.

The commission also approved $60,000 in 13 grants Monday, November 15th, to local nonprofit arts organizations to support projects designed to benefit the Santa Monica community.

Grants of up to $5,000 will be given to the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Santa Monica Playhouse, 18th Street Arts Center, Highways, Donna Sternberg and Dancers, Powerhouse Theatre, the Verdi Chorus, the Santa Monica Theatre Guild, Celebration Arts, and TeAda Theatreworks to expand community access to quality arts programming.

Some of the projects supported by these grants include a DÌa de los Muertos event, to take place in Santa Monica’s Woodlawn Cemetery, coordinated by Celebration Arts.

The grants are also designed to support a series of Asian/Pacific Islander performances at Highways and visits by third-grade students of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to the Santa Monica Playhouse.

The grants will also help fund education programs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the premiere of a new musical adaptation of “The Story of Atalanta” at the Powerhouse Theatre, and two concert presentations of operatic choruses by the Verdi Chorus.

The Santa Monica Arts Commission meets on the third Monday of each month.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 13th, and the commission will be joined by the Public Art Committee to review the preliminary public art proposal for the upcoming Big Blue Bus Campus Expansion.

All meetings of the commission are open to the public.

Information on the Arts Commission and its programs, City Cultural Affairs Division, (310) 458-8350 or http://www.arts.santa-monica.org

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