Work began Monday on restoration of the 1934 Douglass Parshall mural that serves as the visual centerpiece of Santa Barbara Junior High School’s library.

Patty West, owner of the South Coast Fine Arts Center, and assistants Dinah Parker and Cindy Golson are doing the restoration. Though work has just begun, brightness is now visible in the sections that have been cleaned.

West said it will be the mural’s first restoration since it was created in 1934. Cleaning will continue through this week, followed by the repair of loose paint and then application of a protective coat of varnish, making it easier to clean the mural in the future.

This unique restoration project, valued at $5,000, is made possible because of the generosity of the Pearl Chase Society, an all-volunteer, nonprofit conservancy dedicated to preserving Santa Barbara’s historic architecture, landscapes and cultural heritage.

Established in 1995, the Pearl Chase Society seeks to enlarge upon and advance the work of Pearl Chase (1888-1979), who helped shape the architectural development of the city and later fought to preserve that vision. Scaffolding required to access the mural is being funded by the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

The Pearl Chase Society engages in charitable and educational activities to promote and preserve Santa Barbara’s historic resources of rare value and community interest. It conducts annual public tours of historic homes and neighborhoods, offers educational trips and lectures, and publishes “Preservation Watch,” an informational column regarding pending development and/or destruction of historically sensitive structures, areas, landscapes and other resources.

Past projects include funding the restoration of the Courthouse Archway ceiling paintings and the restoration of a 1925 State Street commercial storefront, organizing the relocation of Santa Claus Lane’s rooftop Santa to Oxnard, and advocating, in collaboration with other organizations, for making Mattei’s Tavern a Santa Barbara County Historic Landmark.

— Barbara Keyani is the administrative services and communications coordinator for the Santa Barbara Unified School District.