Ryan McDonald

Hermosa volleyball to be next subject of town mural project

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A view of the 13th Street parking structure, future home of volleyball-themed public art from the Hermosa Beach Mural Project. Photo by Ryan McDonald

A view of the 13th Street parking structure, future home of volleyball-themed public art from the Hermosa Beach Mural Project. Photo by Ryan McDonald

by Ryan McDonald

After tackling jazz, the ever-shrinking bathing suit, and surfing, the Hermosa Beach Mural Project has its sight set on a new aspect of town history: beach volleyball.

The volleyball mural will consist of a large multi-panel display on the south- and west-facing walls of the 13th Street parking structure across from Good Stuff Restaurant. Backers anticipate that the project will be ready before the coming summer.

The mural project, which has a goal of erecting 10 murals in 10 years, has brought the history of Hermosa to life in a series of artworks scattered through downtown. Backers decided to mark its sixth year by exploring another aspect of Hermosa’s surf-and-sand heritage.  

“We didn’t want to start with the most obvious historical contributions of Hermosa; we wanted to get our feet wet,” said George Schmeltzer, head of the mural project’s theme and concept committee. “After five years we felt ready to do surfing. Volleyball was just a natural progression.”

Fitting what Schmeltzer calls the “vertical nature” of a sport known for high flying spikes and blocks, the completed mural panels will be quite large, about 20 feet by 12 feet, and will occupy between 700 and 800 square feet of wall space.

The exact content of the volleyball-themed mural is still to be determined, with the mural project committee expected to make a decision by the end of January.

Project supporters say they are certainly not lacking for source material.

“We’re struggling with deciding who exactly belongs on the mural,” said Chuck Sheldon, president of the mural project. “If we pick three or four people, there’s probably 30 guys and gals you’ve left out.”

The committee is also considering the possibility of using alternatives to photographs, such as an artist’s rendering of legs jumping high off the sand, with the player’s identity left unrevealed, Sheldon said.

Once an image is selected, it will be blown up to size and printed on a special kind of fabric, then stretched across the surface like wallpaper.

Committee members are scouring thousands of photos inspiration, Schmeltzer said. Among the prime sources are the archives of the Easy Reader, and the works of noted photographer Robi Hutas.

“We’re leaning toward a color option, but some of the older ones are pretty amazing,” Schmeltzer said. “But with some of the older ones, it’s a question of the status of the photo negatives.”

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