Rally Planned Saturday in Battle for Venice Post Office

Advocates are fighting to keep a USPS branch and its mural open to the public in Venice

Postal customers and conservation advocates are planning a rally Saturday to help save a USPS branch they say has historical significance.

The Venice Main Post Office, located at 1601 Main St., is scheduled to move 400 feet away and merge with the Venice Carrier Annex. The move is expected to save $135,498 annually, a much-needed savings amid a drop in demand, according to the United States Postal Service.

Although some have complained about the parking situation at the annex, the crux of the protest centers on the historical significance of the building and the oil-on-canvas mural (full-size image, below) in the lobby painted by artist Edward Biberman, according to advocates.

"The Venice Post Office is a historic building and it's a historic public space," said artist Judy Baca, an expert on murals.

The painting, erected in 1941, depicts the early history of Venice, including founder Abbot Kinney surrounded by the canals he helped build, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy, one of the groups supporting Saturday's rally.

A recent appeal to save the building was denied by the USPS, although a second appeal is currently under consideration, said Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy for the LA Conservancy.

"It's a really great landmark in Venice," said Fine. "A lot of people look at these buildings as community anchors. It's part of their daily routine, so these buildings serve more than just a place to get your mail."

The USPS contends the city will be consulted during the sale of the property and measures will be included "to ensure the mural will remain available for public viewing in any plan for reuse or disposal of the Post Office property."

Even if the mural were to be moved to another public space -- a task Baca described as near impossible -- some would still be disappointed.

"The relationship between the mural and physical site is critical," Baca said. "It was produced for that site and put in that public building."

The rally is planned for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., in front of the post office on Saturday, according to the Facebook group "Save the Venice Post Office."

A call to the U.S. Postal Service was not immediately returned.

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