Monday, April 28, 2014

Iconic Fullerton Norman Rockwell Murals Painted Over

My home town of Fullerton, California has a sad history of painting over priceless public art.  As far back as 1939, city leaders decided to paint over Charles Kassler's WPA fresco Pastoral California.  In 1963, the Fullerton Police Department painted over another WPA mural "The History of California."  Back in 2008, city council was talking about painting over the Lemon Underpass murals.  Then city council member (now OC Supervisor) Shawn Nelson was quoted as saying, "We need to get rid of that crap, like, right now."  And just this month, in 2014, some short-sighted Fullertonians painted over the iconic Norman Rockwell murals which graced the wall of Ross Publications for the past few decades.  Here's what one of the murals looked like:

And here's what the wall looks like today.

Oh, Fullerton, when will you learn?


  1. So sad, I wonder what the reasoning is? Even if some city member didn't like it, how is nothing better?

  2. How aweful. Those images are iconic and the murals, historic. Presumably, they were licensed or interpreted without legal issues? What was Shawn Nelson and the council's objection to them? Is there a plan to re-use and revitalize those framed spaces? Thank you for caring and sharing.

  3. Fullerton fails yet again. So sad.

  4. Way to screw things up even more. Politicians are asses, but the people who instill them with that power are blatant idiots

  5. *Facepalm. Fucking shame. I swear, my home town was getting messy when I moved 5 years ago, but it's shocking to see the crap that has happened in that time span. More crap bars, arrests, cop murders... I mean cops that murder and vintage public art removed. They really want to turn that place into a cardboard cutout quickly. Wouldn't be surprised if the choices of the city council turned downtown Fullerton back into a ghost-town in the same 20 years it took to build it up from one.

  6. this makes me really sad.

  7. When will Fullerton learn? Never. They've demonstrated repeatedly that the answer to your question is never.

  8. This was most likely done by the new building owners, Ross went out of business a few years ago

  9. I traveled the world in the military and Fullerton was once the only place I wanted to live. Now I want to move and never come back.

  10. Councilwoman Phyllis Stein strikes again.

  11. Dr. Miyamoto and the staff at Fullerton Oral SurgeryJanuary 16, 2017 at 5:05 PM

    Dear Suzanne,

    I just saw the post about the Norman Rockwell murals in Fullerton. There are several important reasons why they needed to be removed.

    The first reason is that the previous publishing company which occupied the building had a special arrangement with the Rockwell estate that did not extend to anyone else. There would have been a violation of the trademark for the murals to remain. This would have been a costly legal battle that could not have been won. During this same time, the city of Fullerton was in the middle of a lawsuit brought by an artist whose art was hung in a public parking lot in Fullerton. The artist was reportedly seeking $200,000 from the city. For an artist as famous as Norman Rockwell, a financial judgement would have been many times more.

    The second reason is that is a very old building from the 1920s. When it rained there were two feet of water pooling on the roof. Drainage ports had to be made on the side of the wall so that the roof would not collapse to bring the building up to code. For this reason, large sections of the wall had to be cut out and changed. We believe that there were no improvements made on the building in almost 40 years and there were many structural changes which needed to be made.

    In its place we have put up banners which support the non-profit charities Love Fullerton and OC United. They work with the poor and homeless in the area. One of the best things that they do is to arrange places for foster children to live once they have reached 18 years old so that they can finish high school and have a place to live. With the Orange County registrar's office so close by, there are weddings that happen almost every day. We have attempted to make the banners a welcome to the many couples who are starting together by featuring quotes about love heard at many weddings. We see people taking photos of the new murals and with the new murals all the time.

    We were sad to see the Rockwell murals go, but at least now we can use the space to support two groups who help those less fortunate than us and to show love to the newly married couples in Orange County.

    We would have been happy to explain these reasons if anyone ever approached us.

    Dr. Steven A. Miyamoto and the staff at Fullerton Oral Surgery