Yesterday, we wrote about a new mural that the incoming Levain Bakery is proposing for the exterior wall of its new store at 227 N. Larchmont Blvd., just south of the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot. The mural was first presented to the Land Use Committee of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council on Tuesday night, and at that meeting, committee members reminded the Levain representatives that public art permitted under the city’s Mural Ordinance cannot include any advertising messages, such as brand names or logos, which were part of the artwork presented by Levain.
Last night, however, Levain held a public meeting via Zoom to collect further community feedback on the project, and presented a new version of the mural, already updated in response to the Land Use Committee feedback. And the new, less directly promotional, design prompted almost entirely positive comments from the meeting attendees.
The updated design shown last night eliminates the Levain name from the mural, and also the Levain-style cookie images that were included in the first iteration, replacing them with other kinds of more generic baked goods. Other mural elements, depicting iconic locations on and near Larchmont Blvd., remain as they appeared in the original presentation on Tuesday.
After seeing the new design, Hancock Park resident David Trainer (who’s also a member of the GWNC Land Use Committee but was not representing the group at last night’s meeting), said he appreciated Levain’s responsiveness. “You’re way ahead of the game,” Trainer said of the new design presented last night. “I think it’s fabulous.”
Patricia Carroll, who owns a business on the northern part of Larchmont Blvd. (and was another GWNC Land Use Committee speaking solely on her own behalf at last night’s meeting), thanked the Levain representatives, Lorna Sommerville and Kirsten Bunger, for the updated images…and asked some further questions about the maintenance of the mural, including potential graffiti removal. Sommerville said an anti-graffiti paint would be used, and Bunger said there would also likely be some sort of clear coat over the paint, which would allow it to be power-washed to remove graffiti.
In addition, said Sommerville, there is a metal guard rail between the parking area near the mural and the wall where it will be painted, so that will also help protect the finished artwork from physical damage.
Finally, Marissa Levin, an architect who lives in Windsor Square, said she thinks the mural will be good for the area – “so much better” than the blank wall that’s there now.
Bunger said the next step among several remaining in the mural’s approval process will be reporting back to the Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees permitting under the city’s Mural Ordinance. Based on discussion at Tuesday’s Land Use Committee meeting, it’s also likely that the full Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will vote on whether or not to support the project at its next meeting.
Finally, regarding timelines, Sommerville said Levain Bakery is still scheduled to open in June, and she hopes the mural, which will be hand-painted, can be completed before the opening.