La Jolla PDO Committee approves mural of authors behind Warwick’s bookstore

The alley-facing side of Warwick’s bookstore on Drury Lane
A mural is proposed for the second-story blank wall above the customer parking on the alley-facing side of Warwick’s bookstore on Drury Lane, with a corner wrapping around so it can be seen from Silverado Street.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

A new mural including illustrations of authors on the alley-facing side of Warwick’s bookstore on Drury Lane won approval of the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee during its June 14 meeting.

The mural, which is to feature authors who have spoken at or held book-related events in partnership with Warwick’s, is planned for a second-story blank wall above the customer parking area, with a corner wrapping around so it can be seen from Silverado Street.

The plan is to print on canvas a series of small illustrations of authors, such as David Sedaris, Amy Tan, Colson Whitehead and Julia Child. Other notables who have authored books could be included, such as rock star Ozzy Osbourne, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, feminist activist Gloria Steinem and actress Diane Keaton.

“These are all individuals we have hosted events for, and many of them were hosted at University of San Diego or in theaters downtown; that’s the common denominator between them,” said Warwick’s owner Nancy Warwick. Others have had book launches at the store at 7812 Girard Ave.

“The goal is to create something artistic and culturally vibrant, so the list is representative of a range of people … people who are well-liked in the country,” Warwick said.

Warwick said some figures who have been involved in controversy since Warwick’s hosted them, such as longtime radio host Garrison Keillor (who faced allegations of inappropriate behavior with a person who worked with him), would not be included, nor would political figures such as Hillary Clinton, who drew more than 1,000 people when she had a book signing at Warwick’s in 2014.

The work is to be executed by artist Lori Mitchell, who teaches at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla’s Village. Warwick and Steve Miles, a principal at M.W. Steele Group, presented thumbnail images and conceptual drawings but noted the design was not final.

Some PDO trustees questioned whether Warwick’s would need permission to use the likenesses of the more recognizable celebrities. “To my knowledge, we do not,” Warwick said, but she added she would look into it more and confirm.

Because the mural would be printed on canvas and attached to the wall, a section could be removed and replaced if there’s an issue with use of a likeness, she said.

In addition to concerns about possible permission, the board wanted to make sure the mural did not cross the line into promotion, noting that some past murals in town have straddled the line between art and advertisement.

Warwick said no one in the mural “is holding a book or anything we sell at the store.”

PDO trustee Gail Forbes suggested having a directory of the authors available in the store “to save your employees a ton of questions.”

A motion to support the proposed installation passed unanimously.

Other PDO news

La Plaza La Jolla: The La Plaza La Jolla shopping center in the 7800 block of Girard Avenue was recently acquired by Regents Property Management, and two of its representatives presented plans to the committee for new signage.

However, with questions lingering about how the signs would be lighted, square footage that would be used and any other changes to the plaza itself, the board asked the applicants to return at a future meeting.

“Regents Property Management ... would like to update the signage there,” representative Alexa Holtschlag said. “The existing metal screen that is suspended over the walkway will be updated to make it look nicer, with new lettering in a different font so it pops more and will be more legible.”

She added that new, unilluminated letters would sit on top of an existing structure near the elevator bay, and a blade sign would list tenants in a display facing Wall Street.

She said she would return with a “a full scope of what [Regents] plans to do” with the space.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee next meets (pending items to review) at 4 p.m. Monday, July 12. It has not been announced whether the meeting will be in person, online or a hybrid. Learn more at ◆