Malibu resident donates stained glass art piece to City Hall

Artist and Malibu resident David Kramer stands next to his stained glass work featuring surfboards at Malibu City Hall. Kramer donated the piece to be hung at City Hall. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

David Kramer hopes this donation will shine light to fellow artists in Malibu 

Traditionally, stained glass windows can be found at churches, cathedrals, and other significant religious buildings. Small pieces of colorful glass are arranged to form patterns and pictures. With its texture, highlights, and transparency, stained glass can also let natural light shine through. 

While Malibu City Hall currently hosts its art exhibitions downstairs, the building will also be a temporary home to a particular surfboard piece.

Last year, the Malibu Arts Commission accepted a donated stained glass art piece from Malibu artist David Kramer. 

“I was in City Hall in 2019 and noticed the hanging surfboards; this gave me the idea of creating a stained glass surfboard and donating it to the City of Malibu with the hopes it could hang in City Hall with the other surfboards,” Kramer said. 

The art features four multicolor surfboards on a blue background. While certain members of the commission were opposed to the donation, the panel approved it and motioned to create a formal policy.

Despite receiving mixed reactions to the donation, Kramer is excited about having his artwork displayed at City Hall. 

“This is the only surfboard I’ve ever done,” Kramer said. “If you look around here (Malibu City Hall) right now, you don’t see any art, there’s lots of artists in Malibu, and they should be able to show off their works; in my particular case, I just donated it.”

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Thirty-five-year Malibu resident David Kramer shows the sketching of his surfboards piece, as well as samples of his other stained glass work. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Kramer said his wife was the artist, and he learned how to do stained glass work from her. 

“She does everything,” Kramer said. “Forty years ago, she taught me how to do stained glass. We have a studio at home where I have this little section where I do my stained glass, with all my tools and everything there.”

Commonly held together by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame, glass is colored by adding metallic salts during its manufacture, then decorated in various ways. 

Kramer said former Councilmember Karen Farrer was helpful and gave him the direction to reach out to the Malibu Arts Commission about his artwork.

“At the September 2022 Arts Commission meeting, commissioners said they wanted to create a formal policy for accepting donations,” Kramer said. “I hope others will have the opportunity to donate, loan, and share their artworks at City Hall for the public to see.”

While the artwork is currently a loan and will be on display for a year, Kramer hopes it goes beyond that.

“To me, it was always a donation, I wasn’t really expecting to get it back, and I don’t expect it,” Kramer said. “Although it is a loan, it was always my intention as a donation for the city to keep, with no strings attached.”

Kramer says he does stained glass work as a hobby, to give as gifts to family and friends, and never for profit.

The Malibu Arts Commission accepted the art piece for a year and will create a formal policy.

The Malibu Arts Commission curates four to six art exhibitions annually at the Malibu City Gallery. The commission is currently curating the Students Art Exhibit that will be on display from Feb. 6 to March 3.