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After Mistaken Mural Paint-Over, Parties Come Together to Make It Right

The owner of Laguna Canyon Winery says it was a misunderstanding between him and his landlord.

What began as a dispute between the and the owners of after one of the owners recently painted over an 82-foot wall mural that had been created by LCAD students and adorned the side of his building for the past eight years, has turned into a peacefully collaborative fundraising project.

City Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl said she first noticed that the large animal landscape—which depicted the union of a bear, eagle, adult and small child—had been masked with gray paint as she was driving through Laguna Canyon in late February.

“I alerted the [city] arts commission, who contacted the appropriate parties to resolve the issue,” she told Laguna Beach Patch.

Marlowe Huber, a co-owner of the winery who admitted to painting over the mural, said he wasn’t aware that it was public property.

“It was a misunderstanding between my landlord and me,” he said. “I thought it was private property.”

His reason for removing the mural, he said, was to clean up the space so that the city might hopefully approve a sign that advertised his winery. He thought the mural might interfere with the approval.

Huber said he’s offering what he can to repair the damage, including a monetary contribution toward restoring the mural.

“I will be organizing fundraisers and working with the college so that we can have a beautiful, brand new mural painted,” he said.

LCAD president Dennis Power said he’s also received an offer from the winery’s property owner, Steve Henry, to help with the project and is pleased that everyone seems to want to find a resolution.

“I really feel it was a regrettable mistake, and we want to work good-naturedly to rectify the situation,” Power said. “We’re looking at this as an opportunity to create something new that’s equally enjoyable, and hope to execute the project by next winter.”

The details of the project, including cost, are still being worked out.

It will be a project for next year’s first semester mural class to come up with a new design, which would then need to be approved by the College and city’s arts commission. Power predicts the project will take about a full academic year to complete.

“I would like to see something that is harmonious with the canyon landscape, that people driving by will appreciate,” he said.

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