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David Legaspi, Muralist in Santa Monica, Dies

The Australian is known for his murals at schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and across the Westside.

Plans are in the works to honor Australian artist David Legaspi, whose murals adorn most of the walls at school campuses across Malibu and Santa Monica.

Legaspi died recently, but details about his death were not immediately available. Word leaked out of his passing 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 the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Distrcit, 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 Venice, he painted the "Remembering Venice 1913" mural.

Legaspi refused compenstation for the work 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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Alison Kendall June 19, 2012 at 03:43 PM
What a generous and creative person. I remember my kids being impressed by the beautiful marine life mural at Lincoln Middle School. It helped confirm her goal of being a marine biologist.
Yolanda Lewis June 19, 2012 at 08:19 PM
David did two of our big murals at Grant Elementary: The History of Sunset Park, followed by the.100 Year Celebration mural. Our community is very sad to lose a great artist. The beauty and art he created for our children to enjoy will live on for generations to come at all SMMUSD schools. ~ Yolanda Lewis, Grant and JAMS parent
Grace Phillips June 19, 2012 at 11:47 PM
David transformed Edison Language Academy over the course of a summer, and became a friend in the process. I will miss him, and am already mourning the fact that our murals will be destroyed when the old buildings are torn down. I know every school must feel like he did his finest work for them, but I think our enclosed courtyard is a masterpiece. Come see it if you haven't had a chance, and rejoice in David's amazing gifts. I'm so deeply sad - it's a terrible loss of a gifted artist in his prime.
Jane August 22, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Grace, do you know what year David painted the murals at Edison Language Academy?

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