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Iconic Santa Monica Beach Mural Will Soon Be Removed
By Jorge Casuso
May 28, 2019 -- An iconic half-century old mural that has become emblematic of Santa Monica's laid-back beach culture will be removed soon under a settlement between the owner and the City.
City officials confirmed that Mark Leevan, the owner of the former savings and loan building on the corner of 26th Street and Wilshire Boulevard, is moving forward with plans to remove the large mural composed of colored mosaic tiles.
Created by renowned artist Millard Sheets, the 40 foot by 16-and-a-half foot mural above the entry depicts a day at the beach that for generations has captured the essence of the community.
"The owner has therefore requested to proceed with removing the mural, which is permissible under the terms of the settlement agreement. The City is reviewing the request at this time."
The Santa Monica Conservancy sent an email alert Friday noting that the mural on the prominent Y-shaped building that was designated a landmark in 2017 could soon be removed.
"See it now before it's gone!" the Conservancy wrote in its alert.
The building, the email said, "will soon lose its remarkable artworks, including the impressive mosaic mural depicting a beach scene."
The mural is being removed under a settlement agreement with the owner approved by the City Council last August.
Under the agreement, the City revoked the historic designation, blocked any new application for five years and paid Leevan $250,000 ("Iconic Santa Monica Mosaic Could Be Removed Under Legal Settlement," September 5, 2018).
Leevan agreed to preserve the artwork -- -- which also features stained-glass and bronze sculptures that depict a family playing in the surf and a child with dolphins -- and donate it to the City or a nonprofit organization.
The recipient of the donation has not been publicly identified, Lehrer said.
Art Asset Management is handling the transfer for the owner, who will "receive a significant charitable tax deduction for dismantling a landmark building," she said.
"While the Conservancy is glad that a recipient has been found, the fact remains that this iconic Santa Monica landmark is being torn apart, its artwork removed from its original architectural setting, and a landmark lost," Lehrer said.
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