When Newport Beach resident Jack Jakosky bought the Santora building, in October of this year, he told the Voice of OC that “I want to increase the number of art-related tenants,” Jakosky said. “It needs to go back to its roots, frankly, and that’s my objective.”
“I think Jack is genuinely interested in using the Santora to support the arts in Santa Ana,” said Mike McGee, director of the Cal State Fullerton Begovich Gallery and a founder of the Grand Central Art Center. “I think he sees the Santora as an opportunity to use his knowledge about commercial properties and give back to the community at the same time,” according to the O.C. Register.
But tonight I found out that Jakosky has painted over a mural in the Santora basement that was painted by several artists including Matt Southgate and Alicia Rojas. He also painted over the storefront of the Studio del Sotano, which is run by Southgate.
The mural, dubbed “Surreal Santora” was created as part of the 84th Anniversary of the Santora Building, two years ago. The artists celebrated the Santora’s 85th Anniversary last year.
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido and most of the Santa Ana City Council were at the inauguration of this mural in July of 2012. This time they were all MIA as the Santora’s new owner acted essentially in secret – painting over the mural during a holiday week.
Apparently Jakosky had the mural destroyed without any input from the Santora artists. Southgate emailed him and asked him not to paint over the mural, to no avail. According to Southgate, Jakosky’s email response indicated that he wanted to spruce up the place.
Newsong Church, of Irvine, tried to buy the Santora building before Jakosky acquired it but the deal fell out of escrow when the Santora artists became concerned that the church would mess with the arts. You have to wonder now if they would have been better off with Newsong as their landlord.
Jakosky’s rash decision to destroy the Santora mural may put him in hot water with the Federal Government. “In December 1990, after more than ten years of debate, Congress passed the Visual Artists Rights Act, representing one of the most significant changes in American copyright law in its two-hundred-year history. This law granted new rights for American artists called “moral rights”: first, the “right of attribution,” which grants artists the right to be identified with their works, and second, the “right of integrity,” which grants artists the right to protect their works from modification or destruction. The passage of VARA imposes a legal liability for those who destroy, alter, or mutilate a mural and requires conservators to preserve the artistic intent of the artist,” according to a report by Ann Garfinkle that was published by the The J. Paul Getty Trust.
Jakosky also made the news when his La Toscana Village center, in Tucson, AZ, was closed after six people were killed and Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona, Retired) was seriously wounded by an apparently crazed gunman the morning of Jan. 8, 2011, according to the OC Weekly.
The City of Santa Ana recently announced that they would be forming an Arts Commission. Well it looks like they won’t be able to save the Santora mural but perhaps they can open an investigation into what happened.
We can only hope that Jakosky won’t be importing artists from south Orange County to paint whales and dolphins on the walls of the Santora building.