If you’ve been walking on Larchmont Blvd. this week, you may have seen flyers posted for a Zoom-based community meeting at 6 p.m. tonight about a mural proposed for a large wall on Larchmont Blvd. The project, as the Buzz learned at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s Land Use Committee, comes from the new Levain Bakery, scheduled to open this spring at 227 N. Larchmont Blvd.
According to Lorna Sommerville, representing Levain at the Land Use meeting, each store in the New-York-based chain (Larchmont will be its 12th location) has a big map on an interior wall, depicting local iconography, the Levain name, and repeated images of a Levain-style cookie. But Sommerville said the new Larchmont location didn’t have enough interior wall space for the map…so the company worked with artist Janice Chang, who was born in Los Angeles and now lives in New York, to create an outdoor mural for the big exterior wall on the north side of the store’s building, next to the Wells Fargo parking lot.
Chang’s design includes images of the Larchmont Blvd. median stone monument, the familiar boulevard clock, a farmer’s market stall, and other nearby landmarks such as the Hollywood sign and the famous Paramount Pictures gates, rendered mostly in Levain’s distinctive blue and white color palette. Levain-style cookies are scattered whimsically throughout the design, along with the Levain name in several places.
Sommerville said the company is working with Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees artwork permitted under the city’s Mural Ordinance, to get the mural approved, and tonight’s meeting is part of the required public notice and feedback process for the permit.
At the Land Use Committee meeting, however, committee member Jane Usher pointed out that advertising signs in the city of Los Angeles are governed by city building codes and the Department of Building and Safety (a comprehensive Citywide Sign Ordinance is still in the works), while artistic murals are regulated by a separate Mural Ordinance overseen by the Department of Cultural Affairs. And murals permitted through the DCA, Usher said, must be purely artistic and may not include any advertising elements…which means the iconic cookies and “Levain” lettering would probably have to be removed from this design or the mural won’t be approved. After some discussion, the Land Use Committee voted by a margin of 7 in favor and one abstention to recommend that the GWNC oppose the mural design as currently presented, and requested that the Levain representatives return with an updated design that does not include any brand names, logos or other advertising elements, to make sure it complies with the city’s Mural Ordinance.
If you would like to learn more about the proposed mural, or to weigh in on the design, tune in to tonight’s community meeting, via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82251319666?pwd=dDRwS0dIdUlNYXdKSFlJbzF3dWo4dz09 (meeting ID: 822 5131 9666, passcode: 775456) at 6 p.m.…or contact Levain representative Kirsten Bunger at (909) 210-6914.
[Note: this story was updated after its original publication to correct the parking lot location.]