Eight new murals may be coming to the streets of Manhattan Beach.

At its meeting June 18, city council will consider appropriating $145,500 from the city’s Public Art Trust Fund towards funding these murals, with work on the art expected to begin this July.

Officials may also add to city code to define murals as one-of-a-kind images containing a non-commercial message and to give the Cultural Arts Commission the task of reviewing potential murals.

Currently there is only a process to determine whether something is a sign or not, but there is no review or support according to Cultural Arts Manager Martin Betz.

Once approved through this process, murals may then to be added to exterior walls of buildings and structures around Manhattan Beach.

The reason for creating this new language in local law is to add public art to the cultural conversation of the city and make it possible to install such work anywhere that is appropriate, said Betz.

“The goal is to beautify areas of the city and begin to encourage other entities to begin installing murals,” he said.

The proposed locations for the new art pieces include: the parking garage and upper deck at the city’s civic center, the Joslyn Community Center, Metlox Plaza, Marine Avenue Park, the skate spot on Marine Avenue and the parking lot off 14th Street and Highland Avenue.

“Many of the projects are around the civic center because we are starting with municipal facilities and facilities that we have a partnership with,” Betz said.

Artists and proposals for the murals were vetted through the Arts in Public Places Committee and then recommended by the Cultural Arts Commission to the city council for possible approval at the Tuesday meeting.

Betz said most of the artists chosen, with the exception of one from Venice Beach, are local to the South Bay.

The artists include: internationally-renowned photographer and fine artist Bo Bridges, Redondo Beach painter Joanna Garel, multi-medium Manhattan artist Charles Bragg, interactive muralist Kelsey Montague, Venice-based mixed-media artist Trek Thunder Kelly, Hermosa Beach graphic artist Josh Barnes and graffiti master Kid Wiseman.

At the Tuesday meeting, city council will also look at approving four semi-finalists in a national competition to create an art-piece in the lobby of city hall.

The finalists were chosen from more than 100 submissions. They include Hou de Sousa, a New York-based design team; Monika Bravo, a multi-disciplinary artist also from New York; designer Kipp Kobayashi; and Seattle sculpturist Susan Zoccola.

“Many applicants were top artists (from around) the country,” Betz said, noting the piece can be any type of artwork.

Once the semi-finalists get the stamp of approval from city council, they will have three months to create a proposal.

The proposals will then be presented to the Cultural Arts Commission, with a winner then recommended to city council by November, according to Betz. 

He said once a final design and artist are chosen, fabrication on that project will begin in December 2020 and is expected to be completed by May 2021.

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