Caltrans plans to bring beautification project to Malibu

The proposed public art location would be underneath the Solstice Creek pathway of PCH. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

During the City Council meeting on Feb. 14, Caltrans representative Hammer Sui, presented the Clean California PCH Solstice Canyon Creek Public Art and community engagement proposal. 

“We want to take this opportunity to engage the City of Malibu, community members and also introduce the Clean California Program,” Sui said. “We want to reach out and engage with local artists for these projects.”

Sui said the Solstice Canyon Creek art proposal is under the beautification program. The proposed public art location would be underneath the Solstice Creek pathway of PCH. 

District 7 Caltrans Architect Keith Sellars presented the Clean California project and said the mural would beautify the underpass. 

“We’d like to have something that’s environmentally sensitive, maybe something depicting the fish passage that the project is being constructed for and also the marine life,” Sellars said. “In order to meet the funding dates of Clean California, the artwork would be painted on panels and displayed at an alternate location and once the underpass is completed in 2026, then the artwork would be permanently attached to the wall of the new underpass.”

Sui said this proposed project is just a location where they would like to display the art. 

“We would like to connect through the city’s art commission and reach out to the local artist and hopefully have the cultural aspect, the connection and the history of the city be incorporated into and also the education component of fish, clean water and wildlife would be incorporated into the art,” Sui said. We wanted to throw this opportunity to engage the art community in Malibu and the method that we can deliver the project.”

The proposed timeline shows the project would need to be constructed by June 2023 and completed by October 2024.

Mayor Paul Grisanti asked when they expect lanes to be closed for the project.

Sui said he would need to connect with the project manager but said roughly a month or two before the advertisement date of the project. 

Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Silverstein asked if the city would have to maintain the art project once it is installed.

“This sounds like a nice project, sounds like it’ll be visually appealing,” Silverstein said. “I just wonder how we’re going to keep it from being graffitied and destroyed, I heard the city would be responsible for maintaining it, but I just don’t see it being kept in the proper condition.” 

Sellars said once the artwork is installed it would be on the city to maintain it, but said there is graffiti coating that is installed that makes it easy to remove graffiti.

Councilmember Steve Uhring asked how they would pick the artist for the project. 

Sui said in a cooperative agreement with the city, Caltrans would connect with the art commission and be the funding agency for this project.

Public Works Director Rob DuBoux said they will bring an item to council with further information regarding the maintenance and whether or not the project will move forward. 

“Right now we’re going to have this go to the art commission to try to get their artist that way and see how this moves forwards and bring an item to council,” DuBoux said.