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Josh Barnes Mural Chosen for Manhattan Beach Art Center

Mar 03, 2022 09:15AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

A view of the Manhattan Beach Art Center's current parking lot wall, and the proposed mural by Josh Barnes.

Following a community vote, and City Council approval, a mural design has been chosen for the south-facing parking lot wall of the Manhattan Beach Art Center.

The mural, proposed by Josh Barnes of Love and Loyalty Studio, features a muted blue and green floral design with an image of the Manhattan Beach Pier in the center

The mural is this year's project from the Leadership Manhattan Beach Class of 2022. The goal, according to the group, is to "develop community spirit by promoting inclusion, collaboration, creativity, and mental well-being; while increasing visibility of the MB Art Center."

On April 30, Leadership MB will host a one-day community event in which members of the community - preteens through adults - are invited to assist in painting the mural. Barnes will then add finishing touches to complete the painting.

Mural Choice Reflects Community Survey

Rita Crabtree-Kampe, a member of the Leadership MB Class of 2022, told the Manhattan Beach City Council last month that the wall had been previously identified by the Cultural Arts Commission as a good site for a mural. The mural would be helpful in drawing attention and awareness to the Art Center, she said.

"Even people who have lived in Manhattan Beach for their entire lives are often surprised that we even have an arts center," she said. "A mural would be a great landmark public piece of artwork, and a great source of pride for the community."

Leadership Manhattan Beach had proposed two mural options and surveyed the community through an online survey, postcards to immediate neighbors, and knocking on doors of nearby neighbors.

All told, they captured 390 responses, with 172 in favor of the Barnes design and 163 in favor of a Nichole Blackburn design. (Some gave no preference or alternate preferences.)

At Tuesday night's City Council meeting, one immediate neighbor, Dow Li-Kou, spoke up against the mural, saying that she represented three households closest to the mural who not been reached during the canvassing process and were opposed to the project. Li-Kou said that the households felt that it would invite graffiti and bring down property values.

Nevertheless, City Council agreed to move forward with the project.

Manhattan Beach Art Center Mural Timeline

The tentative schedule for the remainder of the project is as follows:

March 15-April 15: Outreach to community participants, including preteens, teens, and adults;

April 30: Mural creation date;

May TBA: Ribbon cutting; community and sponsor recognition.

Leadership Manhattan Beach will pay for the cost of the mural through its fundraising. Maintenance of the mural would be assumed by the city of Manhattan Beach through its Public Art Trust Fund. 

Leadership Manhattan Beach Community Projects

Leadership Manhattan Beach is a comprehensive 9-month leadership program to educate and develop future community leaders. The program, which runs from September through May of each year, culminates in a final project to benefit the community.

Previous Leadership Manhattan Beach projects have included refurbishing the Manhattan Beach Santa Float, installing bicycle fix-it stations, and equipping Manhattan Beach Police Department vehicles and strategic businesses throughout the community with Automated External Defibrillators

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