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Saturday, February 23 , 2019, 3:55 am | Fair 39º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Murals Taken Down As Construction Accelerates on Santa Barbara’s Lower State Street

Youth Interactive artists' murals were displaced early to make way for ongoing work on the La Entrada de Santa Barbara project

The Youth Interactive murals have been removed from the eastern side of State Street as construction of La Entrada de Santa Barbara continues.
The Youth Interactive murals have been removed from the eastern side of State Street as construction of La Entrada de Santa Barbara continues.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Colorful murals brightening Lower State Street during construction were nearly all taken down Monday, with a handful relocated but most displaced after a change in plans.

Coordinators of the Santa Barbara youth-based art project said they were shocked to learn last week that developers of La Entrada hotel project wanted the murals removed from the pedestrian walkway on the east side of State Street.

Nathalie Gensac, who founded the Youth Interactive after-school art program in 2012, said the murals that went up in September were supposed to remain until most construction was completed in late 2016.

The order to take down the 15 5-by-10-foot murals some 10 months early came from Los Angeles-based developer 35 State Street Hotel Partners, which allowed four murals to remain on fences on the west side of the street — an already widened pedestrian walkway.

“The (local) artists are devastated as well as us and all the partners that were involved in the program,” Gensac said, referring to the city, Santa Barbara Beautiful, Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and others.

“They are currently stored at the airport and looking for new homes where they can be seen by many or bought by collectors to support the artists.”

The Santa Barbara Airport is considering buying two murals, Gensac said, with a few others also showing interest.

Starting last week through April 2016, construction on La Entrada de Santa Barbara project will close the east side of State Street sidewalk and northbound vehicle lane, according to the city.

Santa Barbara supervising engineer Tim Gaasch said developers accelerated the work schedule to try to complete public right-of-way improvements by next summer.

Four youth-painted murals remain on Lower State Street near the western pedestrian walkway but the rest that were on the east side of State Street had to be removed as construction accelerates. Click to view larger
Four youth-painted murals remain on Lower State Street near the western pedestrian walkway but the rest that were on the east side of State Street had to be removed as construction accelerates.    (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Between now and the end of 2015, crews will also close Helena Avenue between Cabrillo Boulevard and Mason Street so construction can continue overnight (7 p.m. to 4 a.m.).

“All of the businesses down here are feeling the pressure,” Gaasch said of changes that might relieve some of that anxiety.

35 State Street Hotel Partners aims to transform the previously condemned, vacant Hotel Californian building at 35 State St. into a 114-room luxury hotel.

Those plans include neighboring parcels to house restaurants, shops, a spa and hotel rooms and vacation units, as well as 243 parking spaces, including 120 accessible to the public.

Gensac said there’s talk of relocating the murals to other locations, but nothing was worked out yet.

Anyone interested in buying one — 50 percent of profits go to the Youth Interactive nonprofit and the rest to the youth — can contact her at [email protected] or 805.453.4123.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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