"Grizzly Bear and Cubs"
This mural “Grizzly Bear and Cubs” was originally commissioned by the Treasury Section of Fine Arts for Monrovia’s Ivy Avenue Post Office in 1940.
“Helen Katherine Forbes, a California artist, was awarded a contract to paint a mural for the post office in Monrovia, California in 1940. She painted two murals for the lobby of the old Monrovia Post Office which hung there until 1964 when the post office underwent extensive renovation. The mural of the four cubs was rolled up and stored in the post office basement. Sadly, recent efforts to locate the other mural have been fruitless, and its whereabouts remains unknown.
In April, 2003 Monrovia resident Walt Shelly, a member of the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group (MOHPG), saw an article in the Los Angeles Times about WPA murals and began to wonder what had happened to the murals he remembered seeing in the post office as a boy. He soon found out that the large one was being stored in the basement of the current post office. After bringing the matter to the attention of MOHPG, the Board of Directors hired a conservator to evaluate the condition of the mural. That was accomplished on May 27, 2004.
The City of Monrovia submitted applications for grants to restore the mural to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Department of the Interior, but they were rejected. Fortunately, the City of Monrovia had not long before created an Art in Public Places fund to encourage increasing the amount of art within the city. On August 29, 2007, the Art in Public Places Committee unanimously approved funding ($32,400) for the mural restoration.
To conduct the actual restoration, MOHPG contracted with PARMA (Preservation And Recovery of Masterpieces of Art) in Chicago, an organization that had done over 100 USPS mural restorations. The mural was shipped to PARMA in January, 2009, and returned in late March, 2009. Agreement had already been reached to have the mural hung in the new Monrovia Public Library. It was installed there on April 6 & 7, 2009, and was viewed by the public for the first time during the library grand opening on May 16, 2009.”
Summary of the restoration process provided by Jim Wigton of the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group. "Historic Mural Back on Display". Monrovia Today. July- September 2009. Vol. 30. No. 4. http://www.wpamurals.com/californ.htm http://monrovia.patch.com/articles/a-mural-for-the-masses