Myrna Loy Statue Returns to Venice

Noon Saturday, April 10
Venice High School

Rededication of Myrna Loy statue Noon: Ceremony; 1-3pm: Souvenirs, Reunion Court, Myrna Loy Films in Auditorium, Live Music, Food Booths. Free

The Myrna Loy Statue is a remnant of the golden age of art from 1917 to 1933. During this period Mr. Harry Winebrenner, a nationally recognized sculptor, headed the art department. Student sculptures and other works of art adorned the campus over the years.

A booklet describing the VHS campus, published in 1919, records the concept of the lagoon fountain statuary and shows a picture of the sculpture class, which includes plaster sketches of the main figure as well as the full size sculpture still in clay. The original concept was four statues. A lone sitting figure near the street, representing “Meditation-Study”. Then a group of three nearer the building. Two of the three were sitting or kneeling figures, a male representing “Manual Labor and a female representing “Fine & Intellectual Arts”. The central figure was a standing female representing “Aspiration” or “The Joy of Achievement” (later said to represent “Inspiration”).

In 1920 the central figure was completed and installed. A tall stately female standing erect, with the head looking forward and arms back and down.

In 1923, the central figure was replaced by a new female figure that displayed a much more elegant pose. The body leaning forward, arching back above the waist, with the head tilted looking up, the left arm outstretched and the right arm angling back and down. A shy student in the VHS dance program became the model for this figure. Her name was Myrna Williams. After graduating, Williams became an actress, changed her name to Myrna Loy and went on to star in over 100 films.

Loy’s most notable role was in the series of films “The Thin Man”. Although originally named “Inspiration,” the statue was soon recognized as the Myrna Loy Statue.

Over the years deterioration and vandalized took it’s toll. Made of cement and rebar, the statue was never intended to last the seven decades it stood in front of Venice High. Sadly, overcome by rust and corrosion, the statue lost its former elegance and was eventually taken down.

In 2007, thanks to the VHS Alumni Association, Tom Anderson, Laura Ferre and benefactor Peter Schwab, the campaign (The Myrna Loy Statue Project) to bring Myrna home to Venice began. Artist Ernest Shelton was commissioned to recreate the statue.

MYRNA RETURNS!!! In 2010 a new bronze statue will again bring beauty, grace, history and art back to Venice. You can be a part of Venice High history forever by making a donation or by purchasing a brick paver, inscribed with your personal message, that will create the base path of the statue. For information contact Laura Ferre at (310) 391-9762.

– from the Venice High School Alumni Association

Categories: Art, Culture, Education, History, Venice