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South Main Beach restroom gets fresh new look

Laguna Beach City Council gathers to officially open the renovated South Main Beach restroom with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Council members George Weiss, Toni Iseman, Mayor Bob Whalen, Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf, and Councilman Peter Blake, from left, gather to officially open the renovated South Main Beach restroom with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Main Beach on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Laguna Beach showed off its latest public art installation Tuesday as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the completed renovations of the restroom at South Main Beach.

The Laguna Beach City Council and other community members came together for the dedication of the facility, which now sports new artwork on the wall in front of the showers and other additions.

“Outburst” is the name of the hand-painted ceramic tile mural created by Lynn Basa, a Chicago-based artist known for her large-scale murals.

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl recruited Basa for the project. She said it was fortunate that Basa had an opening in her schedule.

“She was very excited,” Poeschl said. “It’s a wonderful addition. It’s not like anything else we have in the [public art] collection, and it’s a wonderful piece for a location like this. The best shower on the West Coast.”

The hand-painted ceramic tile mural at the new beach shower at the South Main Beach restroom, which was recently renovated.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Describing the specifics of the piece, Poeschl pointed to how some of the tiles were accented, as if raindrops had landed on a window.

“It looks like there’s water falling down,” Poeschl said. “She knew it was going to be used as a shower, so she wanted to create that sense that would always look like the shower’s just being turned [on or] off.

“It would always have that look of always being in use, so they very cleverly created that in the tilework itself.”

The few dozen in attendance laughed when Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen joked, “Nice of you all to come down. Sorry we couldn’t have a nicer day,” with the event being held in brilliant Southern California sunshine.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman said she was delighted to see what she called a “one-of-a-kind” and “welcoming” public art installation.

Anne Girtz of the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition makes comments during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Main Beach on Tuesday.
Anne Girtz of the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition makes comments surrounded by Laguna Beach City Council members during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the renovated South Main Beach restroom on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“At one point, they were going to tear this down and put something new in, but old isn’t so bad,” Iseman added. “You can redo old and make it just wonderful, so I think we’re lucky that it turned out perfectly.”

A ceremonial, oversized pair of scissors were used by Whalen and Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf to cut the red ribbon.

Additionally, the renovations included the installation of a water bottle refilling station, an effort made to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in the community. The Laguna Bluebelt Coalition made a $5,000 donation that helped bring the bottle refilling station to town.

“When we first started reaching out to organizations to gauge their interest, we really had no expectations, and we were immediately just overwhelmed by the interest and support from almost anyone we talked to,” Anne Girtz of the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition said. “It really goes to show just the care that the Laguna Beach community has for its beaches and oceans, and that they’ll come together for a project like this. We’re super excited that this can be the first [refillable bottle water station] installed in the city.”

Girtz then thanked the project’s sponsors, including the Laguna Beach County Water District, Laguna Greenbelt Inc., One World One Ocean, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, the Laguna Beach Garden Club and Waste Management.

A detail photo of the hand-painted ceramic tile mural at the new beach shower at the South Main Beach restroom.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

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