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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
January 27, 2012     The Catalina Islander
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January 27, 2012

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This panoramic view is part of the Catalina Island Museum's exhibit on the murals in the Casino Ballroom. Photo courtesy of Alan Barlow Museum to feature Casino murals in exhibition- "Fantasy Into Art" is the first exhibition dedicated to the murals of the Avalon Casino, which were executed by the artist John Gabriel Beckman during an astoundingly short three-month period in 1929. The only remaining prelimi- nary sketches of the Casino murals will be exhibited for the first time, including the original conceptual sketch that convinced William Wrigley, Jr. to commission Beck- man for the project. The painted sketches on ex- hibition-all part of the Catalina Island Museum's own permanent collection--lend unprecedented insight into the execution and em- bellishment of one of California's landmark buildings and provide a rare glimpse into the working method of one of the region's most respected artists. Upon his completion of Gmu- man's Chinese Theatre in 1927, John Gabriel Beckman earned the reputation as one of the foremost muralists living on the West Coast. Meanwhile, the noted business- man and entrepreneur William Wrigley Jr. was in the midst of transforming Avalon into a world- class resort; its crownjewel a grand casino building that was to house a state-of-the-art movie palace and a ballroom of immense size. SUPER BOWL COMI:[ WA]rCH TH[ 46TH ANNUAL SUP[K lOWt GAMI ON 4 IIG[ FLAT- $CRE[ TV$, IECIIAL APPETIZ[I AND DKINK MINUS AVAILABLE. Wrigley's close associate, Da- vid M. Renton, was in charge of planning and executing this monu- mental feat in a period of just 14 months. Renton had'visited Grau- man's Chinese Theatre shortly after its opening, and was so impressed by its murals that he arranged for Beckman to meet with Wrigley. A mere two days after dining with the chewing gum magnate in his plush Pasadena home, Beck- man presented him with a concep- tual sketch of the Casino theatre's interior. Wrigley was impressed by what he saw, and selected Beck- man for the commission almost on the spot. In order to complete the project on time, Beckman assembled a tal- ented group of artists, who executed the building's large-scale murals by transferring the scenes depicted by Beckman in a number of modestly- sized painted sketches. Th exhibition of these sketches reveal an overall conceit for the murals that is without parallel in any comparable project. The scenes spring entirely from Beckman's own imagination. Many of the theater's walls bear murals that are wildly imaginative and depict, fantastic scenes that are loosely derived from California's early history. In contrast to these, the murals on the building's exterior are utter fiction, and offer a glimpse into an undersea world dominated by tow- ering kelp forests that gently caress the central figure of a monumental but highly sensual mermaid. High- ly ambitious in scale and grand in execution, the entire program is reminisceat of the large-scale fresco painting of the Italian High Renaissance. Thus, the Avalon Ca- sino murals have significant mean- ing, and represent a singularly great gesture by a modern artist to resurrect the artistic traditions of an era long past. Fantasy Into Art will be on view from Feb. 4 through June 17 at the Catalina Island Museum. Opening Reception for =Fantasy into Art" The Catalina Island Museum invites you to join us for the open- ing reception for "Fantasy into Art: The Avalon Casino Murals of John Gabriel Beckman" from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4. Tickets are free for members of the muse- um and $5 for the general public. The Catalina Island Museum is Avalon's sole institution devoted to art, culture and the rich history of Santa Catalina Island. It is lo- cated on the ground floor of Ava- lon's histori6 Casino, and is open i CATALINA COUPLES: Local Catalina couple "Sanchez" and Lupe Sanchez enjoy a dinner outing. Please send us your favorite photo of yourself or of another local Catalina couple to be included in the Catalina Islander. They can be young or old; in-special places. special occasions or just at home. Email your high resolution PhOto to Courtesy Photo seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, the museum may be reached by phone at (310) 510-2414 or at its website: BIRTHDAYS Friday, January 27 The Catalina Islander Angela Strege Cris Rodriguez Lolo Saldana Elisabeth Huart Alexis Marshall Saturday, January 28 Ken Foster Denisse Campos Aria M Araiza Sunday, January 29 Alicia Chavolla Mulgado Bonnie Hardey Jorge Hernandez Jr Miguel Leyva Campos Leticia Hernandez Delgado Linda Mulgado Alcala Rebecca Peguero Monday, January 30 Jeri Morales Tom Waite Joanna Garcia Kathleen HilI-Z eller Rocky Sillas Anna Hunt Tuesday, January 31 Connie Velarde Claudette Konigsmark CindL Alvitre Brian McDougall Kim Farrell Eric Huart Ray Smith Jo Jo Machado Pauline Voishan Wednesday, February 1 Shannon Elena Lopez Olivia Hernandez Ed Arnold Thursday, February 2 Christine Cassano Irene Strobel Kris' Smith Tyjuana Brookins Lorenzo Gonzalez Sr. ANNIVERSARIES Friday, January 27 Kevin & Jing Boultinghouse Tony & Cdncha Padilla Thursday, February 2 Dick & Nancy Kellogg 6  Friday, January 27, 2012 ]lliilII lllli',l[I llIIiIilli00I11r ]TII 00I,!Ii'III il'InIIll00lITlil;IllilBlllil00]ll00lll!ltl(ll l,[l',l, 00]lli00tl I I;II[]TL] "r' i ,,, ii THE CATALINA ISLANDER