Downtown mural changes approved

February 12, 2013|By Barbara Diamond
  • Sculpture artist Randy Morgan looks over his Waterman's Wall mural after the unveiling in November.
Sculpture artist Randy Morgan looks over his Waterman's… (DON LEACH )

The Arts Commission on Monday unanimously approved changes from the original proposal for the sculptured mural on the wall of Hobie Sports, taking into account public safety from protruding images and concerns about the quality of the piece.

Sculptor Randy Morgan was instructed to fill in spaces behind some of the 3-D images that commissioners thought could be handy for people to grab at and possibly injure themselves, and to reduce the projection of a surfboard that sticks out from the "Waterman's Wall." All other revisions were approved.

Morgan and investors in the project urged approval of the revisions.

"I met Randy in late summer of 2012 and I saw a sketch [of the proposed mural] on a napkin," said Clay Berryhill, one of four speakers supporting the changes at the meeting. "My dad was an artist and I saw the same spark in Randy.

"I talked to [Hobie Sports owner] Mark [Christy] and he said he had donated the side of the building, so I'm in as a primary investor."


Berryhill said the changes came about when it became apparent that space was available in the mural for more sculptures of more people.

Support for the mural also came in the form of a letter from the Surfing Heritage Foundation, lauding in particular the contributions to the surfing culture by Hobie Alter, for whom Christy's store is named.

Foundation Executive Director and former Laguna Art Museum Director Bolton Colburn opined that including a portrait of Alter in the mural would be appropriate.

Commissioner Donna Olsen Ballard said the accusation that the mural is actually a sign for the store is not merited.

Mural sponsor Dave Mariner said he hoped that a plaque honoring sponsors could be added to the mural. One suggestion was to put the plaque on a flat section of the depiction of Laguna's iconic Lifeguard Tower, which would never be allowed on the real tower.

The plaque must be considered separately. Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl advised the commission that because the original design of the privately funded mural had been approved by the city in 2010, only the changes to the design could be considered at the hearing.

"We have never had changes to a mural before," Poeschl said. "The council will be informed of the decision. If any of them have an issue, they can request a hearing by the Planning Commission."

The Planning Commission recommendation would be subject to council approval.

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