Neon-colored fish, flowers and other shaped panels will now don 38 lifeguard towers along Will Rogers State Beach and Santa Monica as part of Portraits of Hope’s latest public art project, “Summer of Color.”

Installation on the 1,216 panels was completed Monday with the help of locally headquartered construction company Morley Builders.

Portraits of Hope is a nonprofit founded in 1995 with the goal of having hospitalized children and adults create high-profile public art as a form of creative therapy.

Summer of Color features 4-foot-by-8-foot and 5-foot-by-12-foot foam-core panels designed by more than 6,000 adults and children with serious illnesses, physical disabilities and socio-economic challenges. The entire exhibit features panels on 158 lifeguard towers stretching from the Palos Verdes Peninsula to Malibu’s Zuma Beach.

Additionally, many towers will display signs detailing ways people can help clean the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Morley was enlisted to help install the panels in a way that would last six months while preserving the integrity of the artwork. During the 14 hours spent installing the works, special measures had to be taken such as covering the workspace with tarps to prevent sharp objects from falling in the sand and taking driving courses to learn how to maneuver in the sand.

“We really wanted to be a part of this Portraits of Hope project because it stands for everything Morley believes in: community involvement, helping children, beautifying our surroundings, civic engagement and environmental responsibility,” said Mark Benjamin, president and chief executive of Morley, in a news release.

The panels will be displayed until October, at which point Morley will disassemble them and donate the pieces to rebuilding efforts in Haiti and Chile.


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