The Laguna College of Art and Design and Laguna Canyon Winery reached an agreement to replace the large mural eradicated in March by winery proprietor Marlowe J. Huber, who wanted to replace it with a sign for his business.
The now gray expanse will be covered by another mural designed and executed by LCAD students under the supervision of instructor Mia Tavonatti. “It’s going to be a two-semester project during which students will have to go through the whole process of securing permits, possibly present design plans to the Arts Commission or the City Council and do prior research, just like professionals,” she said.
Work on the new mural would begin this fall and conclude next spring, said LCAD president Dennis Power. “We will have to raise money for the project, including Ms. Tavonatti’s salary,” he said.
Costs are estimated at $12,500, with the college and the winery splitting the tab evenly. Laguna’s Community Art Project (CAP) is kicking in $2,500. “As owners we are going to participate as well. Marlowe and I will be responsible for half the cost,” said Steve Henry, owns the building on 2133 Laguna Canyon Road where the winery is a tenant. “We are planning several fundraisers including wine tasting parties, but no specifics have been decided or dates set,” said the winery’s chief of operations, Bear Trapp.
Power said both sides have been very cooperative. “The winery admitted to an honest mistake, and we are all a community together,” he said. The college is defraying half the cost in order to spare everyone involved in costlier battles. “It has to be the right setting for the canyon and the community and by sharing costs, we are able to control content,” he said.
Power is hoping for private contributions toward the project since the college earmarks its fundraising for student financial aid.
Meanwhile, Tavonatti looks forward to having another go at what amounts to a huge canvas, one of the largest mural walls in the county. “We have replaced murals before and now that we have more experience, it will be even better than the last one and, we won’t have to worry for at least 10 years about having to take care of it,” she said. “It will be an independent statement, unrelated to surrounding businesses or else it just becomes a huge sign.”
She expects to enroll 16 students in the mural class, which will hold an intra-class design competition decided by independent judges. Once approved by the city, the entire class will execute the winning design. “I love teaching that class. I can’t wait to take my students outside again and stand on scaffolding all day. You could have a worse job,” she said.
Fine Art Dean Jonathan Burke will oversee the project as Power is retiring this June.