Edward Biberman’s 1941 mural “Story of Venice” in the lobby of the Venice Post Office (shown) is just one of many fine examples of public art embellishing the 1000-plus post offices built by the Roosevelt’s Administration’s public works program. The future of some of these murals, which immortalized regular Americans and their local legends (Abbot Kinney is front and center in “Story of Venice”), are in jeopardy as the post offices that house them go up for sale.
The “Story of Venice”, however, will enter a new chapter, courtesy of “The Matrix” and “Lethal Weapon” producer Joel Silver. In front of a crowd that included Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and actor Toby Maguire, as well as landscape designer Mia Lehrer and architect Bret Theony, Silver unveiled his plans Wednesday for a transformation of the 1939 building into a full-fledged production facility for his company that has been long housed in Burbank, and the restoration of the buildings key architectural features and mural. The artwork is to be restored by Nathan Zakheim and will eventually to be open to the public by appointment. Silver, an avid preservationist, also promised a lecture series about WPA art and architecture. More on this story later on DnA and Which Way, LA.