Santa Monica City is completing work to paint over a mural in Joslyn Park by Art Mortimer as part of repairs to the park retaining wall. A plaque dedicated to the memory and community work of Ocean Park resident Valerie Nordstrom Barnard will be removed from the stair wall and installed in a new location within the park.
Ocean Park Historical Postcards was originally painted in 1980, according to the City.
“Due to its extremely poor condition and ongoing problems with drainage, water infiltration, repairs to the stairwell, and inherent vice on the center retaining wall panel, the Santa Monica Arts Commission deaccessioned Mr. Mortimer’s mural,” City staff said. “The artist was notified that the mural would be painted over when improvements were made to the wall.”
The mural was substantially repainted by the artist in 1994. In 2002, the mural was assessed by painting conservators who found that substantial structural damage to the concrete walls continues to affect the overall condition of the mural, particularly in the sections that are sub-grade retaining walls that are not a suitable for a mural.
Last year the City worked with a conservation firm to complete the first comprehensive survey of the City’s collection since 2001. The survey not only provides a snapshot of the collection in terms of its age and condition, but of its diversity in terms of the types of work, and its distribution throughout the City. The Arts Commission and its Public Art Committee are working with the information gathered to create a holistic plan for the conservation of the collection, which in many cases is over 30 years old. In the coming weeks, the City will work with the Nordstrom family to identify a new location within Joslyn Park for the bronze plaque dedicated to Valerie Nordstom Barnard.