The murals of Venice will be commemorated in a calendar for 2008, co-sponsored by Betsy Goldman of Abbot Kinney Real Estate. Fourteen different local murals are featured in the calendar, including several well-known landmarks such as the “St. Charles” mural on Windward Avenue and Jim Morrison’s portrait.
The Venice Post Office will be holding a dedication ceremony in honor of its WPA-era mural of Abbot Kinney by Edward Biberman at 10 a.m. Thursday, November 15th, at the Venice Post Office, 313 Grand Blvd., Venice. The mural is one of the oldest in Venice and is featured on the cover of the calendar.
“This is a dedication to highlight that, not only do we deliver mail, but we want to be part of the community as well,” says United States Postal Service spokesman Larry Dozier.
The program includes the production of commemorative stamp pieces with the date of the event, councilmembers, refreshments, and local talent, Dozier says.
“This is a great community event and we wanted to get involved and be a part of it,” Dozier says.
Also included in the calendar is “Venice in the Snow,” a long-hidden apocalyptic image of what could happen in the course of a changing environment. Commissioned and painted in 1970 by the Los Angeles Fine Arts Squad, the mural was obscured shortly after completion by the construction of a new building.
“[‘Venice in the Snow’] was a visionary work that imagined what the future would be like, presenting the conflict in the environment 30 years before what is now a global discourse,” says Victor Henderson, one of the two creators of the mural. “It came from observing the environment and seeing it change, and seeing that even in 1970 there wasn’t a great deal that one individual could do [about the environmental change].
“It was the first real community painting in Venice, so when the mural was covered by another building it was depressing and demoralizing.
“People knew in the ’60s that Venice would explode in real estate, but we didn’t know when,” Henderson says. “We fought all we could to try and save the mural, but real estate developers won out and the mural was hidden.”
Stephen Pouliot, the driving force behind the calendar, was inspired to begin a community calendar after seeing the Atlantic City (New Jersey) Historical Society’s calendar available for sale with photographs and information from the past.
“Seeing [the Atlantic City calendars] was my incentive for producing a calendar as the 100th anniversary of Venice approached,” Pouliot says. “The Venice Centennial Calendar celebrated the early legends of VeniceÖ while the second calendar featured the early architecture of Venice based on a postcard collection.”
SPARC (Social and Public Art Resource Center) “was a great help for this year’s calendar,” Pouliot says. SPARC is a nonprofit foundation for public works of art based in Venice.
“SPARC encourages and helps preserve mural art, and has one of the largest archives of mural art, not only for Venice but for Los Angeles,” Pouliot says. “It is a terrific resource that engages the entire community and all cultures.”
“Many artists consider murals to be ephemeral,” he says. “They know that murals will be defaced, and that the wind and rain will fade it, and that it is not going to last forever. Finding good images was a real treasure hunt and we were glad to resurrect some murals that had disappeared.”
Information about SPARC, (310) 822-9560 or www.sparcmurals.org/. Information about the calendar, (310) 392-1014.