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Santa Monica Activists Plan Vigil for Mural

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By Lookout Staff

August 12, 2014 – Santa Monica activists are encouraging the public to attend a public vigil next month to save the Muir Woods Mural that has graced an exterior wall of Olympic High School for nearly four decades.

The protest comes after Principal Janie Gates announced the removal of the 1978 mural depicting a redwood forest by noted artist Jane Golden from the school. Gates said the work at the corner of Lincoln and Ocean Park boulevards no longer reflects the school, formerly John Muir Elementary, or the city.

“We’re not in Northern California where the Muir forest is,” Gates said. “We’re down in a beach community, so we’re working a local effort using local artists.”

Peace activist and perennial city council candidate Jerry Rubin, who is organizing the September 6 vigil, believes the mural is more relevant today than ever.

“Together we can help make that vision a reality,” Rubin said in a statement.

At the vigil, the public will be invited to write personal messages calling for "mural restoration not mural removal" on a large Save the Muir Woods Mural Art Petition.

After being circulated at community meetings and events, the petition will be presented publicly at a School Board meeting in the hopes of gaining the support of the Board and School Superintendent Sandra Lyon.

Event organizers and Golden say that given the current global environmental situation, the mural is perhaps even more relevant today than it was 36 years ago when it was painted.

“Murals take on a purpose far beyond beautification; they become catalysts for positive social change, inspiring many other actions around education, public safety, community and economic development,” Golden said in a statement.

“And this mural is the same. On the one hand it was about creating a spot of beauty on Lincoln Blvd, but the mural was also always meant to be a powerful reminder of John Muir and the legacy he left, inspiring us all to think about how much we need to be stewards of our land and guardians of the future.”

Golden got her start in Santa Monica before moving to Philadelphia, where she has spent the past 30 years heading up the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program.
According to Rubin, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the passing of John Muir, the renowned preservationist, nature lover and Sierra Club founder who the mural was dedicated to, and who passed away on December 24, 1914 at a hospital in Los Angeles. 

For more information, contact the “Campaign to Save the Muir Woods Mural” at (310) 399-1000 or contact to Jerry Rubin at or Charles Andrews at

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