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Huntington Beach group seeks public input on plan for 6 panels of artwork on downtown building

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The Huntington Beach Design Review Board voted in May against recommending a proposal to paint a mural, depicted above, on the Frontier Communications building at 602 Main St. The Huntington Beach Public Art Alliance is now proposing six 20-by-12-foot panels of artwork.
(File Illustration)

After a city board declined to endorse its proposed mural for a downtown building, the Huntington Beach Public Art Alliance is soliciting public input for a new plan.

The Art Alliance and a group of residents collaborated on a proposal to adorn the Frontier Communications building at 602 Main St. with six 20-by-12-foot panels of artwork instead of painting what would have been the city’s largest mural.

Kim Kramer of the HBPAA said they want to hear from residents about the new proposal before they put out a call for local artists to pitch works for the six panels.

Residents can attend four meetings scheduled at Community Bible Church, 401 Sixth St. They will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21, 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 23, 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 25 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28.

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“We want to hear from the community before we lock this down,” Kramer said. “Nothing is set in stone. We took the community input and city input very seriously, and based on that, we developed a proposal that would satisfy all the concerns, but we don’t know that for sure.”

The HBPAA initially wanted to paint a mural depicting the Huntington Beach Pier, Ruby’s Diner, a surfer riding a wave, a lifeguard tower, surfboards and the ocean. But the city’s Design Review Board voted 3-0 in May not to recommend the proposal to the Planning Commission, causing the Art Alliance to go back to the drawing board and include the community.

During the May meeting, the design board took issue with the privately funded mural’s flashy colors that it said would make the building appear “gigantic.”

The mural proposal has drawn mixed reactions since Kramer introduced the project on Facebook in 2018. Supporters said it would beautify the building, while critics contended it would feature city stereotypes and could create congestion and parking problems. Some also were upset that the public wasn’t included in the process, especially since the mural would be in an area near homes.

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“We don’t want to exclude anyone, and we hope to hear from as many residents as possible with their thoughts, opinions, ideas and suggestions about this new public art project,” Barbara Haynes, co-founder of the HBPAA, said in a statement.

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