Artist volunteers for 2nd mural

The Newport Beach City Council will discuss Tuesday whether the city should pay $3.5 million for the site of the landmark Balboa Village Market.

The shuttered brick market covered with a mural showing historic scenes from Balboa Peninsula life would likely be bulldozed to make way for more parking.

Artist Donald MacDonald, who painted the original mural, would paint a new mural if a parking garage goes up on the site of the market, he said Thursday.

The 2,140-square-foot existing mural includes scenes of a surfer catching a giant wave intermingled with sunbathers and pelicans.

Newport Beach landmarks like the Balboa Pavilion and the Fun Zone also are part of the scene, which was dedicated July 1, 1995. The mural was sponsored by the Balboa Merchants Assn.

The mural is a popular spot for tourists to stop and take pictures.

“I would go for the same overall look with the wave, the beach and the pavilion, these are landmark things,” MacDonald said, adding that he would probably also add the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum to a new mural.

The Huntington Beach muralist met with city officials last week to talk about painting a new mural to replace the old one.

MacDonald's handiwork also can be seen in numerous Hollywood films, most recently in the Meryl Streep film “It's Complicated.” The artist has worked for the past 30 years painting sound stages for motion pictures.

MacDonald painted the old Village Market mural for free, and local residents and merchants brought him coffee and food as he painted.

Businesses in the area threw a parade in MacDonald's honor after the mural was finished.

“He feels a real tug to this area because when he painted the first mural people were so nice,” said local businesswoman Dayna Pettit, who helped recruit MacDonald to paint the original mural in 1995.

Although the possibility of a new mural provides some solace, Pettit said she would still be sad to see the old mural go if the city decides to buy the property and bulldoze the market.

“Of course, it breaks my heart, but what can they do,” Pettit said.

A recent parking study the city conducted found there is a dearth of parking in the Balboa Village area.

Newport Beach officials are considering buying the site from real estate investor Leo Gugasian, who also owns the Balboa Pavilion and the Catalina Flyer ferry.

Once a Safeway grocery store, the old brick market building at 608 E. Balboa Blvd. has been a fixture on the peninsula since 1938. The market has been closed since 2006.

The last of a string of owners shuttered the place, citing competition from larger chains, problems with credit cards after a wine scam and the peninsula's changing population as reasons for closing.


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