News & Advocacy
Metzli Projects Releases City Hall Mural Recommendations to the Public
Following nearly a year of organized public engagement, including outreach, learning workshops, and discussions, Metzli Projects released an Executive Summary of their highly anticipated Phase 1 report this month. The Summary includes the consultant team’s long-awaited list of recommendations for the murals in City Hall. The report does not recommend removing or covering the murals, rather it focuses on commissioning new artwork and interpretive panels, assessing the City’s public art collection through the lens of equity and belonging, as well as suggesting how the City might “materially address issues related to the exclusions seen in the mural” beyond the cultural sphere of City Hall. (Metzli’s Working Circle meets at Historic Santa Monica City Hall. Photo by Kenneth Lopez, Metzli Projects, 2023.)
In addition to the list of nine recommendations, the Executive Summary contains a significant amount of material describing Metzli’s thoughtful and thorough process to engage with community concerns about how First Peoples’ are represented in the murals, among other issues. The report states that the murals have caused considerable harm to many viewers, and that the City’s response should include and center Santa Monica First Peoples and those excluded in the murals’ depictions. The report also offers an analysis of community responses, and addresses more general themes of inclusion, repair, civic memory, and public space. The Conservancy strongly recommends that the community read the ten page Summary.
Release of Metzli’s full report in January of 2024 will mark the end of Phase 1 of the City’s overarching Reframe: City Hall Murals project. The particulars of Phase 2 will depend on what happens when City Council reviews and votes on whether to accept the recommendations during their January meeting. Specifically, Cultural Affairs will look for approval to proceed with Requests for Proposals for recommendations #1, 2 and 3. Implementation will be managed by the Arts Commission, its Public Art subcommittee, and Cultural Affairs Director Sofia Klatzker. The Conservancy will continue to be involved and supportive as these efforts move forward.
In the meantime, Metzli Projects will host an Open House at City Hall on November 9 from 5-7 p.m., to present and discuss their recommendations with the public for the first time. We hope to see you there!