Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Downtown Long Beach Mosaic

Today’s mosaic is on an unoccupied building on Pine at 4th Street in downtown Long Beach. Its columns make it look like an old Home Savings and Loan, but I learn from both Lillian Sizemore and Adam Arenson that it’s a former Bank of America. The bank branch closed in 1984 and the building—or at least part of it--went through a series of tenants. It was a Mexican restaurant, Leonardo's, and more recently, a club called The Vault 350, with a concert stage--kinda like a House of Blues. Snoop Dog, Kanye West, and BB King--iow, BIG names played there.

Who knows what it will be next? Lillian Sizemore has ID’d the mosaic as one done by artist Ben Mayer, who also did library mosaics (here’s a link to one in Norwalk) and owned a design firm...but he did much more.

I'll quote from my old post: Ben Mayer was the first person to photograph a nova from beginning to end (all 36 hours) and capture on color film all 108 of the Messier galactic objects. He globe-trotted to photograph 13 total eclipses as well, and he wrote  four books on astronomy. 

Not only that---he actually invented and patented astronomical devices that are widely used by scientists.

The building went up in 1950, but the mosaic itself was part of a million dollar renovation done in 1967.

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