Webster Elementary Mourns Loss of Muralist

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

Plans are in the works to honor Australian artist David Legaspi, whose murals adorn most of the walls at Webster Elementary School and other 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 SMMUSD, 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.

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.

Diane C Hines June 19, 2012 at 12:53 AM
David Legaspi was a gifted artist as well as a kind and generous man. The students at Webster benefited not just from his murals but from the way he reached out to them, allowing them to participate by sharing their ideas about his art and even adding their brushstrokes to his works. Moreover ,Legaspi's presence on Webster's campus gave students a real-life model of the unique dedication required of an artist both to his art as well as his community. May Legaspi's art on Webster's walls remain for generations to come. Diane Hines, Webster art specialist
Pamela Conley Ulich June 19, 2012 at 04:07 AM
"Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one." ~Stella Adler Thank you David, for saving Malibu's soul. David is a true Malibu Legacy, Treasure and Legend. He contributed so much to make Malibu and world better. He was a ray of pure light and his works will live on in our hearts and souls. In addition to his work at our local schools, David engaged the entire Malibu community. For the City of Malibu's 16th Birthday, David created the Community "Sweet 16" Mural at the Landon Center in Bluffs Park. The mural honors Malibu's past, inspires the present and leaves hope for our future. On Earth Day 2006, he volunteered to paint the beautiful 7-7-7 mural which shows 7 skate board moves done by 7 endangered species from the 7 continents. The art is located at the stormwater treatment facility fences on the corner of Cross Creek across. May you rest in peace dear friend. Love and gratitude for you - - -
Dru Ann Jacobson June 19, 2012 at 03:07 PM
I feel absolutely terrible about the passing of David! He was a gift to the children and parents of Malibu! I was fortunate enough to work on many projects all over Malibu with him, and other volunteers..we had so much fun working for weeks on the Landon center mural, so many people just dropping by to paint a little or a lot, all brought together by David, and that great smile of his..."Come on Dru Annie, come paint with me!" The Heaven's are now your canvas, rest in peace, dear David! Xo Dru Ann Jacodson
Karen Farrer June 19, 2012 at 05:09 PM
RIP David. His talent and generosity can be seen all over Malibu as well as the schools in Santa Monica. His passing is such a loss. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Anne Vitolo June 19, 2012 at 05:12 PM
I had the privilege of working with David and the children on some of the Webster murals. What a joy it was! David was so great to work with, never pretentious about his talent. He just encouraged the kids (and parents) to bring forth something from inside and put it on the wall for all to enjoy. He led and we followed teaching us not to be afraid to express ourselves. It was an especially valuable lesson for the children. Thank you David. You will be missed. I hope to paint with you again one day in Heaven. Anne Vitolo, former Webster parent
Denise Peak June 19, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Art is a gift and he generously passed it on to everyone he met. Whether you were and artist or not he got you involved to be a part of his magic. I met him 12 years ago and he did a summer workshop at my house with 2nd and 3rd graders. I helped paint all the seaweed at the Pt. Dume school and I did the Boys and Girls Club mural with him and Sage Laskin that was the teacher at Cabrillo.It was the best summer vacation ever. I did the underpass at Leo Cabrillo State Park. We camped out and slept on the rocky creekbed and had the ocean almost take us out. He was always inspiring and encouraging me and his energy was infectious. I did some work on the high school and added a fish here or there. He got me to put animals at the Landon Center mural. He was a caring giving man that never stopped smiling and gave his heart and soul in his artwork. He would drive around town and look for walls to beautify for his next endeavor. He was the pied piper of Malibu that lived the concept of passing joy forward. I am so saddened by the news he was a gem. My husband and him are smiling in heaven and I am grateful that he left his brushstrokes all over town. XOXOX Denise Peak
Cyndi Katz June 20, 2012 at 03:00 PM
David was truly an angel and we in Malibu were fortunate to share some time with him. He beautified so many places always with a smile on his face and encouraging words to join in on every project he undertook. He loved children, he loved teaching and especially working as a team. David found his happiness and success by sharing his artistry with us all. We will miss him greatly.


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