Monday, November 19, 2012

Back to Coronado Mosaic

Walgreens is about to open a new store at the site of a former Home Savings & Loan in Coronado, CA.

That’s way out of Los Angeles County, I know, but I did blog about the mosaic (created by artist Susan Hertel) a while ago. Here's my picture.

The building had been a Petco until 2009. Before the Home Savings & Loan went in, it had been a Bank of America—going ‘way back to the days when Bank of America was Bank of Italy. In fact, there’s another piece of art from that early era which Home S&L covered up—more about that at the end of this post.

But about the mosaic, this is from a Patch Coronado article

"One of the main concerns for the city and residents alike was that the Millard Owen Sheets mosaic on the front of the building not be removed. Not only was it left in place, but Walgreens preserved it by regrouting and resealing it, Fait noted.


(Mr. Fait is an Associate City Planner with Coronado.) (And I need to post a comment to Patch, correcting the attribution--this is Susan Hertel's work, I'm very sure.)

Regrouting and resealing a large mosaic is no cheap or easy project--so bravo to Walgreens. In addition to preserving the mosaic, the corporation also put in ” a new roof, a new electrical system, new plumbing and new heating and air conditioning. . . . replaced the sidewalk and removed two driveways – which added four parking places on the street – and installed a bench under the awning.

“They also planted two new trees and added a new storm drainage system.”

Now that’s the way to reconcile neighbors to having a new chain store on the corner.

About that other work of art—here are two pictures of it taken by Gloria Tierney for Patch. I cropped them and tweaked the exposure to bring out more details, but you can see the originals and more pictures at the Patch site. (the picture at the top of this post was taken before Walgreens got involved--so before restoration.)

And here is the story, quoted from the Patch article:

Once construction began, workers discovered the mosaic was not the only notable work of art on the façade. There was also a terra cotta medallion of an aged, explorer-style sailing ship hidden under the blue awning.

“The medallion was designed by the Northern California ceramics company Gladding, McBean – which dates to the Gold Rush era – back when Bank of America was the Bank of Italy. For decades, the piece was placed on all of their banks.

“When Home Savings took over the building, they set the awning over the medallion and installed the company's own corporate symbol. Now both will be preserved on Walgreens' new structure.”

And—since I’ve strayed out of Los Angeles County anyway, here’s a treat for those who appreciate modern mosaic work: a link to Mosaic Arts Now (an emag) article on the many beautiful and intriguing mosaics entered at a judged exhibition in Chartres, France: the Prix Picassiette.


Anonymous said...

Regarding the "Back to Coronado Mosaic" web article and the restoration by Walgreens.

The mosaic tile mural was created by both Susan Hertel and Denis O'Connor. Their initals can be found in the bottom left and right corners of the mural.

Peter Fait, Associate Planner, City of Coronado

Vix said...

Thank you! Poor Denis O'Connor--he never seems to get the right credit. I missed his initials, so I'm glad you set the record straight.