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Artist David Legaspi, Muralist in Venice and Numerous Westside Schools, Dies

The Australian is known for his murals at schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and also painted the "Remembering Venice 1913" mural near Windward Circle.

Plans are in the works to honor Australian artist David Legaspi, who painted the "Remembering Venice 1913" mural in Venice, as well as most of the walls at campuses across Malibu and Santa Monica.

Legaspi died recently, but details about his death were not immediately available. Word leaked out of his death over email Sunday, as parents and supporters of began to discuss ways to honor the artist.

Webster's principal, Phil Cott, said Legaspi's death is a terrible loss to the Malibu and Santa Monica communities.

“Our whole campus is covered with beautiful murals that he did alone and large areas of murals that he did with every student at our school at that time and with parents,” Cott said.

He said the artwork depicts aquatic life and enriches the elementary school environment.

Cott said he was touched at the way Legaspi allowed students to paint with him.

“He wasn’t possessive of the mural or the professional quality of it. He just wanted everyone to be part of it,” Cott said.

Legaspi also donated one of his world-famous painted surfboards, which was auctioned off for thousands of dollars for Webster, according to Cott.

The artist's work is not only at Webster Elementary. He also did murals at other schools in SMMUSD, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the cities of Malibu and Santa Monica, private and public schools in the valley, South Bay schools, nonprofits such as the State PTA, as well as private commissions.

In 2003, Legaspi painted the "Remembering Venice 1913" mural at Main and Market streets in Venice near Windward Circle. The mural is a composite of images back when the streets around Windward Circle were canals and shows Venice founder Abbot Kinney, the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy and automaker Henry Ford.

Legaspi refused compenstation for the work he did at public schools in the SMMUSD.

“We had a fight with him just to pay for the materials,” Cott recalled.

He said the murals create a peaceful setting at Webster for students, teachers and staff.

“He chose themes that are appropriate in this community in this place where these kids are growing up,” Cott said.

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