Sea critters are slowly taking shape in Peck Park, just off Western in San Pedro, thanks to fearless artist Julie Bender and her merry gangs of volunteers... who are sometimes invisible. Or simply overbooked.
Once upon a time, a mural decorated this wall, with orcas and dolphins and crabs. Diana Chapman painted it 9-10 years ago, but the elements were not kind to the paint. So these mosaics will take its place. Hopefully by the end of April, the entire wall will be filled in.
Julie Bender presented 8 designs for a mosaic to the Northwest San Pedro Neighborhood Council, and the puzzle-pieces you see here--all different sea critters--was the winner. So now the work progresses.
I have seen sketches of the entire wall, but nothing I could reproduce here. If you're really determined, you can look at the Los Angeles Parks project approval pdf here--just scroll to the end for the sketch. Otherwise, you'll just have to take my work that everything will be covered in tile--from the pelicans on the left to a tall and comely mermaid on the right. Along with rays, whales, sand dollars, and even a beautiful purple sea urchin that went into place while I watched.
And in the middle, the graceful kelp that you see below left, already in place, will weave back and forth between a blue and orange tile background.
Thirteen Girl Scout Troops are involved in the project. Some are making the tiles. As you can see, some of those whimsical home-made tiles, in yellow and green, are already framing the outlines of seals.
I think someone snuck a yellow pizza tile in there. Or maybe it's a chocolate chip cookie. About 3500 of the tiles will be handmade.
At some point in the near future, Moms from the Art TO Grow On group will come in and apply the grout to panels that are ready.
Art To Grow On, btw, is a non-profit program that brings hands-on art projects to at least 17 schools in the area, kindergarten through 8th grade.
The work is being done on the weekends, between 1 and 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of the tiles and supplies have been donated. As you can imagine, these days civic organizations don't have buckets o' money to put into public art, but when the whole community comes together it's amazing what can be done.
In fact, for those who want to donate, you can give cash by going to the Los Angeles Parks Foundation website. Click on "support a park" then on "Ways to give." Then type in Peck Park Pool and use your credit card.
Or if you happen to have some glazed tiles, grouts, buckets, spare hammers, and what-not that might be helpful, you can send an email to Julie Bender, either through her website or at email@example.com.
Because these little anchovies need some water to swim in.
You can also stop by the park and see the work-in-progress. The pool is at the northernmost side of the park. Look for a sign pointing to it in from of the gym.