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Courthouse Mural Room Project Wins Governor’s Historic Preservation Award

The Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation (CLF) has announced that the Mural Room Conservation Project was one of only six projects statewide to receive the 2018 Governor's Historic Preservation Award.

The award honors preservation projects representing exemplary achievements on behalf of preserving California’s diverse heritage.

“It is an honor to be recognized for the work that was done to preserve our magnificent Mural Room” said Jan Ferrell, president of the CLF board of directors.

“The CLF is proud of the entire project team and grateful to the many generous donors who made the restoration work possible” she said.

Representatives from the CLF and Santa Barbara County will receive the award from Gov. Jerry Brown during an annual ceremony and reception Nov. 1 in Sacramento.

The Mural Room project came about after a small electrical fire in 2010 led to the discovery that the murals and other decorative architectural elements in the room needed significant conservation, restoration and repair.

In 2012, the Courthouse Legacy Foundation began a fundraising effort to raise $800,000 for the preservation and restoration of the Mural Room. Finished in 2015, the project is an award-winning example of expert conversation and preservation.

Established in 1986 by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, the Governor’s Historic Preservation Awards Program is distinguished from other preservation awards in two respects:

It emphasizes involvement by community groups, and it recognizes a broad array of preservation activities, from building rehabilitation to archaeology, education, and preservation planning.

Thes Legacy Foundation’s next restoration project is that of the Grand Arch, which spans the passageway between Anacapa Street and the Sunken Gardens.

For several years, portions of the entry to the arch have been visibly deteriorating. In particular, the sandstone and sculpture work are eroding and the mortar joints are failing.

The Courthouse Legacy Foundation began raising money for this project in 2017 and is a third of the way to its $321,000 fundraising goal. The organization is seeking additional funds to complete the project.

“If the Grand Arch is not repaired, the stonework will continue to deteriorate, which could significantly increase the cost of future repairs,” said county architect Robert Ooley.

“It is important that we address this issue now, before a major architectural component of our important historic landmark building is compromised,” he said.

The county of Santa Barbara is responsible for the general maintenance of the Courthouse, but does not have the artistic resources or funds to authentically restore this historic structure. Gifts to CLF are tax deductible.

The Courthouse Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to conservation, preservation, restoration, enhancement, and educational legacy of the Santa Barbara Courthouse consistent with the status as a historic landmark property.

The Courthouse was designated a Santa Barbara City Landmark in 1981, a California State Historic Landmark in 2003 and National Historic Landmark in 2005. For more, visit www.sbclf.org.

Since 2004, the CLF has funded or directed the conservation or preservation of the following:

Restored the mural of El Funeral del Gobernador José Figueroa
Brought together five of the six Theodore Van Cina murals in the Figueroa Gallery
Rehabilitated the Hall of Records
Restored the Mudéjar ceiling in one of the two original courtrooms
Replaced the deteriorated Spirit of the Ocean fountain
Restored the Heraldic paintings on the panels of the ceiling of the Grand Arch
Restored and enhanced the Courthouse Seth Thomas Tower Clock and created the Bisno Schall Clock Gallery
Restored all the murals and the ceiling in the Mural Room and upgraded the lighting
Renovated a janitor’s closet into an office for CLF use and art gallery for local artists

— Angelique Davis for Santa Barbara Courthouse Legacy Foundation.

 

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