Robb Fulcher

1920’s Mural unveiled in downtown Hermosa

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To the cheers of a large crowd, volunteers on Saturday unveiled the first of 10 large murals planned for exterior walls around town, a recreation of a 1920s photo of downtown Hermosa, high on a north-facing wall of the downtown municipal parking structure.

“This mural shows you the community spirit of this city,” Mayor Peter Tucker told the audience, shortly before a massive blue canvas was dropped to reveal the finished work of renowned muralist Art Mortimer and his assistant artist Hilary Wooten.

Mortimer, of Mar Vista, who spent weeks atop twin scissor lifts with Wooten to complete the 20-foot long, $35,000 mural, said it was important to him to help memorialize a bit of Hermosa history.

“In Southern California in particular, we don’t have much history around us,” he told the crowd, standing or seated in white folding chairs in the parking lot of the neighboring Beach Market. “Old buildings get torn down and we build new ones, people move away, and often people live in a community and don’t know much about it.”

Former councilman Chuck Sheldon, a board member of the nonprofit Hermosa Murals Project, said the second mural is planned for the eastern wall of New Orleans Cajun Café, on the corner of Pier and Manhattan avenues.

The Murals Project was hatched after a group of friends, including prominent Hermosans, went to Santa Paula, a town located 14 miles east of Ventura, and saw exterior-wall murals for which the city is regionally known. The Santa Paula murals attract school students from other cities who take walking tours that include educational talks about Santa Paula’s history, which is rich with Chumash Indians, lemon orchards and oil.

Ex-councilmen Sheldon, George Schmeltzer and J.R. Reviczky sit on the Murals Project board. ER

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