Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Update on the Tehachapi Murals Project

Provided by Jeanette Pauer.

Members of the Tehachapi Murals Project, Charles White, Lyn Bennett, Tina Dille and Jeanette Pauer, stand in front of the 1915 Green Street Dance Mural.

The murals in Downtown Tehachapi are in need of repair. The most obvious is the 1915 Green Street Dance mural on Tehachapi Blvd., across from Railroad Park. Unfortunately, the binding agent on the mural is failing and the stucco is falling. As a result, it needs to be removed. This led to the creation of the Tehachapi Murals Project, which will evaluate each mural, and have them cleaned and resealed by the end of fall. Current members of the Tehachapi Murals Project are Charles White, Lyn Bennett, Tina Dille and Jeanette Pauer.

Restoration to the murals in Downtown Tehachapi will begin in June, when Brian Gutierrez, with Omega Lathing and Stucco, will be removing the 1915 Green Street Dance mural. After it is removed, he will re-plaster the surface. Later in the summer artist Lyn Bennett, along with her assistants, Jeanette Pauer, Susan Palm and Tina Dille, will be repainting the mural. Plans were to begin in May but, due to unforeseen circumstances, the restoration project was briefly put on pause. Thankfully, they didn't have to wait long and the project was able to obtain the required insurance coverage for restoring the murals.

"Currently, we have a very informal committee and we all have a wide variety of art backgrounds – art history, working with different types of murals, and I have a history in art restoration – so we are very qualified for this. Luckily, we have such amazing talent in Tehachapi," Pauer said.

About 8 years ago, Main Street Tehachapi set aside funds for the maintenance of the murals, with The Heritage League acting as stewards of that money. While fundraising will be needed in the future, if Main Street had not been forward thinking there would not be any funds available for restoration. The next mural Main Street Tehachapi wanted to do was on local flora and fauna. Pauer hopes they will be able to create more murals in the future, picking up where Main Street left off. Once the restorations are complete, they can move forward on future murals.

Pauer is pleased with the amount of support they're getting from the community.

"Everyone loves the murals. It has a huge economic impact on our community," said Pauer.

Cheryl and Jim Wilson, former members of Main Street Tehachapi, are very excited about the project and fully support it.

"I think it would be an absolute, pure travesty to not effectively support whatever steps required. I'm getting goosebumps talking to you guys 'cause I believe in this so much. Preserving all of our murals is very important. What a shame to have the mural...fall off the wall," Cheryl said.

Charles White, once part of Main Street Tehachapi, is excited to see the historical murals of Tehachapi  preserved for future generations.

Claudia Baker is a big supporter of the Tehachapi Murals Project and, as a past president of Main Street Tehachapi, she was instrumental in the creation of the murals and setting aside the preservation money for the future.

"I am so happy that this project has been taken up and progress is being made to restore and preserve them," Baker said.

There are plans to hold tours of the murals once a month out of the Visitor Center. Pauer is working with Jon Hammond, a local historian, and Chris Scotti, of Discover Tehachapi Tours, on making sure information for the tours is accurate.

The committee is working on its nonprofit status and is looking for sponsorships. The murals will need to have professionals look at the them twice a year. Stucco is an organic, porous material, and with Tehachapi's hot summers and cold winters, the thermal expansion causes stress in the material. Some murals are more exposed to the elements than others.

Pauer extends her thanks to Tehachapi Valley Arts Association, who is sponsoring the project, and Ginger Patz Farmers Insurance for helping them acquire insurance, Jay Schlosser at the City of Tehachapi, and everyone who participated in Main Street Tehachapi.  

Volunteers are needed for part of the project. If you have an art background, the Tehachapi Murals Project wants to hear from you for cleaning and potentially resealing. If you're interested in volunteering manual labor, they do have some areas around the murals that need to be cleaned up. The Project is also looking for donations of the use of scaffolding or scissor lifts.

If you are interested in volunteering please call or text Jeanette at (661) 238-8177.