SMMUSD Struggles With Painting John Muir School Building To One Named for the Obamas

Some are unhappy as Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration paints over Muir Woods mural at John Muir Elementary School.

 

October 20, 2019

Photo courtesy of Jerry Rubin/Facebook

Muir Woods Mural will be painted over for the new Obama Center

In order to change the name of a building to Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration, the SMMUSD will have to paint over a mural of Muir Woods.

Not everyone was happy that Muir Woods was being painted over. Some former hippies, now in their 60's and 70's, held a rally to celebrate the artwork, and try to convince the district not to paint over their mural.

"Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration, is the new name of the facility that houses Olympic High School, our new Project-Based Learning pathway (that is part of Samohi), independent study, adult school and a few other programs," writes SMMUSD Spokeswoman Gail Pinsker, explaining changes to the building at the Corner of Ocean Park Blvd and Lincoln. "We have 9th graders that are from Lincoln MS, JAMS, Malibu MS and SMASH attending this Center."

Pinsker has previously explained that Olympic High School will keep its name, as will John Muir Elementary School. Only the building itself is being renamed for the Obamas, at this time.

A meeting held on October 17th heard public comments from Jerry Rubin, Marissa Rubin, Charles Andrews, Sarah Braff, Andrea Brodkin, John Smith, Michael Kirschbaum, Zina Josephs, Joe Faris, Kathy Knight, and Ann Thanawalla.

"Mr. Kean shared a conversation he had with Jane Golden, the artist, regarding the future of the mural. She expressed her enthusiasm for being a part of the community process to reimagine what could be depicted on the wall of the building. Following a lengthy discussion, the board amended the two motions to read as now written in the above minutes," wrote Pinsker


"Mr. Mechur suggested that staff consider rescheduling the ribbon cutting ceremony to when the community process is in place. Ms. Lieberman suggested that staff consider putting up a sign near the southwest walls explaining the process to the public until the final product is completed.

"(SMMUSD Superintendent) Dr. Drati reminded board members that implementing its decision will have financial costs that need to be addressed. Board members, specifically Mr. Kean and Ms. Lieberman, committed to seeking out partners in the City of Santa Monica's arts community and infrastructure to help garner the necessary funds." wrote Pinsker.

The school's press release press release: http://www.smmusd.org/news/news1819/PR-NamingMES-Obama060519.pdf

More info on the new PBL program: http://www.smmusd.org/edservices/ProjectBasedLearning.html

BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING

MINUTES - MEETING FORMAT "B"

October 17, 2019

.VIII.A. Exterior Painting - Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration (30 min)

Motion to Amend Passed: To amend the motion from: "It is recommended that the Board of Education direct staff to paint the southeast walls of the Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration the same exterior wall color as the rest of the school and add a painted sign identifying the facility's name as an interim step prior to replacing what remains of the existing mural. It is further recommended that the Board of Education direct staff to establish an inclusive community process that involves the school and broader community in creating a new mural that will pay homage to the Muir Woods mural and also reflect the vision for the Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration campus."


to:

"It is recommended that the Board of Education direct staff to engage Jane Golden and Mural Arts to lead an inclusive community process as soon as possible that involves the school and broader community in creating a new mural that will pay homage to the Muir Woods mural and also reflect the vision for the Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration campus .It is further recommended that the Board of Education direct staff to paint the southeast walls of the Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration the same exterior wall color as the rest of the school once the community process has been initiated, unless the artist determines that a different approach is appropriate. " Passed with a motion by Dr. Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein and a second by Ms. Laurie Lieberman.

Yes Oscar de la Torre

Yes Mr. Craig Foster

Yes Jon Kean

Absent Maria Leon-Vazquez

Yes Laurie Lieberman

Yes Ralph Mechur

Yes Dr. Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein

Time start: 8:29 p.m. Time end: 10:22 p.m.

Jerry Rubin

"My wife Marissa makes a wish and blows out her birthday cake candle at the Save the Muir Woods Mural 'Art and Activism' film screening this evening at the Santa Monica Library," wrote Jerry Rubin

 

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