The bright-colored scenes portrayed on the “Jaya” mural near the Venice canals appear to be overshadowed by graffiti that has invaded the artistic wall.
A similar problem is faced by another mural, “Endangered Species,” near the Venice Beach Boardwalk.
The two murals, both created by Venice artist Emily Winters, are in need of renovation and the owners of the wall property have said they will have no choice but to paint over the artworks if they are not renovated.
Winters said her two murals — “Jaya,” created in 1975, and “Endangered Species,” painted in 1990 — have historical significance in the Venice community and many local residents have informed her that they don’t want to see the art taken away.
“I’ve always had community support for these murals,” said Winters, who has lived in Venice for 43 years. “People are very attached to them.
“They don’t want to have to see them get painted out.”
But while Winters says she is “very moved” by the support of her fellow community members, she knows that money will be a big factor if the murals are going to be saved.
“We will lose them if we don’t get the money to do it,” she said.
The Venice Arts Council Endangered Art Fund has selected Nathan Zakheim & Associates, an art conservation group, to perform the restoration of the two murals — if funding can be found.
Zakheim, who has preserved murals throughout Los Angeles, says he has developed new processes that will restore and preserve the Venice murals for decades if there is proper mainte- nance.
His company has estimated that the preservation project for the “Jaya” and “Endangered Species” murals will cost $87,000.
Community members, along with the Venice Arts Council and the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), are helping to lead the effort to preserve the two murals, and the Venice Neighborhood Council has also recently taken a major step in the process.
After hearing presentations from Winters and Zakheim at its meeting Tuesday, October 17th, the Venice Neighborhood Council voted to allocate $20,000 toward the mural projects.
The allocation represents 40 percent of the Neighborhood Council’s $50,000 annual budget from the city Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.
While the $20,000 is only a portion of the total project costs, Neighborhood Council president DeDe Audet says the council’s action was a “move to invigorate fundraising” for the project.
“I think it reflects the views of most of the community that the murals of Venice do attract a large number of people to visit,” Audet said.
People at SPARC called the Neighborhood Council’s allocation a historic action, which shows that the council is a “true arts partner for all of Los Angeles, most importantly Venice.”
Winters agreed, saying she was delighted to have the council’s support for her art.
“The fact that they’re willing to support these murals is really important and it’s setting a precedent,” Winters said.
SPARC, an arts center dedicated to producing, preserving and conducting educational programs about community-based public art works, is currently working with city officials in an effort to reestablish a citywide mural preservation program.
The 900-square-foot “Jaya” mural is at 316 Venice Blvd., facing Dell Avenue near the Venice canals.
Winters said “Jaya,” which is Sanskrit for “nonviolent victory,” depicts the struggles of people living on the Venice Canals. The mural has suffered from delamination and other damage over the years, she says.
The 2,688-square-foot “Endangered Species” mural is at 801 Ocean Front Walk, facing Park Avenue near the Venice Boardwalk. The mural depicts the Venice Beach community, but also addresses the impact of technology on society, Winters says.
Zakheim said the restoration work he is planning for the two murals involves a new process that has not been done before for murals.
“We’re using a totally unique process that has never been used before,” Zakheim said.
The first phase of the projects will involve removing graffiti, doing wall repairs and cleaning the murals, he said.
The walls will then be saturated with resin and the artist will perform “retouches” to the murals. Finally, the art will again be sprayed with resin, which strengthens the paint and restores the color, making it look brand-new, he said.
“It is the only truly effective method that exists,” Zakheim said of the preservation process.
Once the projects begin, restoration work should take about four months to complete, he said.
Some Neighborhood Council members expressed concern about spending such a large chunk of the council’s budget on the projects.
But others said that if the council is going to spend such a large amount, it might as well be for an effort like the preservation of community murals.
“I think it’s a lot of money, but it’s a good cause,” Neighborhood Council member Colette Bailey said. “What are we doing with the money anyway? Let’s spend some of it.”
Some residents at the Neighborhood Council meeting warned council members that preserving murals in Venice, which is a community of many murals, could prove to be an expensive task.
“There are a lot of murals in Venice,” resident Stewart Oscars said. “It will be a big business if we get into the business of restoring murals.”
Resident Nadine Parkos said she supported the mural projects in concept but added that there are many other community projects that also need support.
But other residents were quick to give the go-ahead to saving Venice murals for future generations.
“There should be some commitment by the people of Venice to their murals,” resident Jim Smith said. “Venice is known for murals and we need to preserve them.”