Jewish Weekly: Citizens fuel effort to restore Coit Tower murals

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Citizens fuel effort to restore Coit Tower murals

by Dan Pine

Last fall, San Franciscan Gayle Leyton decided to visit Coit Tower, the iconic landmark she remembered lovingly from childhood. She was appalled by what she found.

Filthy bathrooms. Broken doorjambs. And worst of all, cracks in the ceiling and walls on which the Jewish artist Bernard Zakheim and 25 others painted the lobby’s exquisite murals six decades earlier.

Leyton fired off a series of complaint letters to the city’s Recreation and Parks Department.

She wasn’t the only one distressed by the deterioration of the murals, which depict 1930s-era California in all its urban, rural and agricultural glory.

Meanwhile, Zakheim’s daughter Ruth Gottstein and grandson Adam Gottstein of Volcano, Calif., in the Sierra foothills, also fretted over the neglect visited upon their family’s legacy. They reached out to the San Francisco’s Arts Commission, as well as the Recreation and Parks Department, the two agencies responsible for upkeep of Coit Tower and its murals.

They also contacted Jon Golinger, a San Francisco attorney and president of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers neighborhood association. He in turn co-founded the Protect Coit Tower Committee, which last month launched a petition drive to get a ballot measure before the voters next fall.

“From time to time, citizen engagement is a valuable way to push the city to do better,” Golinger said of the ballot measure, which if passed would establish a nonbinding policy to direct more dollars toward the protection, maintenance and beautification of Coit Tower.

Read the full story here:  Citizens fuel effort to restore Coit Tower murals 

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