The Making of the 25th Street Mosaic Wall
You have questions? We have answers!
Interested in how the wall started? Who had artistic input? How the process took place? Who will maintain the wall? Follow the evolution of the wall as it went from dream to reality
In February, 2017 preliminary steps were taken to fulfill Julie’s 10 year dream of turning 2000 ft of retaining wall into a community art project. The first step was identifying the homeowners and obtaining permission to beautify their connecting retaining walls along 25th Street west of Patton. What Julie didn’t realize at the time was that owner permission was going to be the easy part and bringing the wall to fruition would be a complex navigation of permits, ordinance amendments and community involvement.
February 2017 - August 2017
Permits and ordinance hearings
After owner approval was achieved, a myriad of bureaucratic hurdles and roadblocks delayed the project by 6 months. While applying for required permits, it was discovered that the 15th District of Los Angeles (representing the Los Angeles Harbor area) was excluded from The Mural Ordinance (Los Angeles Ordinance No. 182706, adopted on August 19, 2013) which allowed for public murals on private property, including single family dwellings. In an effort to support San Pedro's newest beautification project, Councilman Joe Buscaino and his team presented a proposal for amendment to Section 22.119 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code allowing Original Art Murals on lots in Council District 15 that are developed with only one single-family residential structures. The amendment was approved and signed by the Mayor of Los Angeles, August, 2017.
What about Graffiti
We've got that covered!
"Let's hope that never happens, but nuts are out there. Studies done in Chicago and Philadelphia show a decrease in graffiti activity when murals are put up. Also the beauty of tile is that it is not porous, so it can be cleaned. Unfortunately, the grout isn't, but when the work is complete the grout will be sealed. "
The need for capital - a partnership was formed.
While initial costs of the wall were being paid for by Julie Bender, it was clear that a project of such magnitude would not be possible without community funding and partnership. After presenting her project to the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District, a 501[c], a partnership was formed. Julie's project fit perfectly within their mission (to promote San Pedro’s authentic arts, culture and entertainment character, through advocacy, marketing and educational activities). This partnership allowed individuals the opportunity to attend fundraising events or donate to the wall through SPWAD, with the ability to receive a taxable donation receipt.
September 2017 - October 2017
With permits in place and the ordinance amended, it was now time to inform the public and seek community input. Notices regarding meetings were published in the media and posted on the wall. To accommodate various work and lifestyle schedules, meetings were held both evening and morning hours. In total there were 6 public meetings held.
Community hearings, community voting
Making Clay and Glazing
October, 2017 - August, 2018
Creating tile pieces for the mosaic wall
After community hearings, city permits and the generous support of the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District, dreams became a reality. The community was invited to come and be a part of this historic event! They were encouraged to come out and meet neighbors and spend time with family and friends while they learned new skills. The artist, Julie Bender, guided volunteers through the process. Workshops were held at Siren's Java and Tea for free. Workshops included molding clay into individualized mosaic tiles and glazing tiles. Later workshops were held at Julie's residence, with the last official workshop on August 29, 2018.
March, 2018 - April, 2018
October - March, the above happened.
Prepping the 25th Street wall -- first clay pieces are adhered
As of March 15th, all the clay pieces for the major elements of the wall were sculpted. As of April 1 the 25th street wall was cleaned and prepped. The first pieces were adhered to the wall on April 6, 2018. Drawing on the wall began on April 7th, 2018. The first Pelicans were adhered to the wall on April 12-13. While prepping for community mosaic weekends, Julie continued to host workshops at Siren's Java and Tea where volunteers helped with glazing tiles, cutting tile, and cutting mirror in preparation for the creation of the ocean and cliff portions of the 25th street mural.
April 14 - April 15 marked the first community weekend at the wall. Approximately 40 members from the surrounding community came out each day and learned how to adhere mosaic tiles onto the wall using thin-set. The community days were free and were 100% volunteer. As of this writing, September 12, 2018, over 15000 community hours had gone into the wall. The remaining areas of the wall to be completed were the harbor, some housing and the upper portions of the wall.
Volunteers typically spent 2 hours at the Wall, although some spent more. Community weekends also drew members out to look and talk about the Wall, with approximately 15-20 visitors a day.
Community days at the 25th Street wall
Adhering tiles continues on through August, 2018
Prepping the 25th Street Wall
Throughout the month of September, volunteers and Julie will continue to finish the harbor area of the wall and the upper sections. Although workshops are no longer being held, there will be a table at the wall where interested persons can come and make a Quote or a Flower tile. There will be a donation box and instructions on the table, but Julie will not be able to assist as she will be up on the scaffolding. This table will be available until all tiles have been claimed.
Finishing adhering tiles to the wall
Community Involvement and the progression of the Wall
Working on the top of the Wall, grouting, the installation of the Light Houses
Fun moments on the Wall
July 28, 2018
Planning ahead for the need to purchase grout, the Corner Store, owned by Peggy Thompson-Lindquist hosted a fundraiser that coincided with a make your own boat or quote tile fundraiser. Both events were very well attended as the community continued to step forward and support the creation of the Wall.
Fundraising for grout
August - September 2018
Finishing adhering tiles to the Wall
Throughout the month of September, volunteers and Julie continued to finish the harbor and upper areas of the Wall. Although official workshops were no longer being held at her residence or Siren's Julie hosted tile glazing opportunities at the Wall. The public was invited to come out to the Wall and make a quote tile, a boat tile or a flower tile for a donation. These opportunities were available until all tiles were claimed.
The lower portion of the Wall is completed
The lower portion of the Wall is completed
Working into and on the Cabrillo Beach area of the wall, there was a need for 1" sized people. While people were being made, the Mermaid went through a transformation and grew-up a little bit. The beginning of the whimsical and colorful sky started. The color palette for the sky was inspired by colorful tiles that were graciously donated to the wall.
Due to permitting complications, the work on the Wall was put on hold from December 1, 2018 - January 11, 2019.
Work on the Wall ceased
Initial drawing and Pelican Pieces
Follow the history here:
January 12, 2018
Putting the upper portions of the Wall together
Much of the upper portions of the Wall were put together during this time. This was a time where scaffolding and taller individuals were needed
Weather delays, sickness, containers and boats
There was an unusual amount of rainfall in February, that created some delays with the mosaic. A cupcake and container making celebration was held 2/25. Julie set up tables at the Wall and allowed the community to come out and glaze small boats and containers for the Wall. This was the last opportunity for individuals to participate in making their own tile for the 25th Street Mosaic wall. Progress on the Wall continued, but a little more slowly than the months before. With the permitting delay, sickness, and weather, a predicted finish date of March, 2019 was now pushed back to May, 2019.
Gallery of Dedication Day 6-29-2019
Work on the sky and upper area started
Working almost daily, Julie Bender and Megan McElroy pieced together the whimsical sky that surrounds the glorious pelicans. The inspiration of the sky came from a generous donation of colorful tiles. The last tile pieces were put onto the Wall on March 10. A very successful community grouting day was held March 23, 2019.
April - May 2019
Grouting continues and the Wall is complete
Throughout the month of April, volunteers would come and go on a daily basis. Julie and Megan continued to work tirelessly grouting every day. A final Community grouting weekend was held May 24 and May 25, where people within the community came out and helped grout different portions of the Wall. The Wall has about 11 colors and countless variation of those colors of grout. The colors help define it's uniqueness, making the figures pop and adding dimension.