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Snoopy bridge in Tarzana is celebrated with restored Peanuts character art panels

Tarzana neighbors band together to restore iconic "Snoopy Bridge"
Tarzana neighbors band together to restore iconic "Snoopy Bridge" 02:01

Children cheered, and cars honked as Tarzana's Snoopy bridge was celebrated Monday at the unveiling of restored art panels, where the community's cry for help to clean up the graffiti-damaged pieces was answered.

The 1971-built pedestrian bridge is unofficially and affectionately named the Snoopy bridge because of its 12 painted metal panels of Peanuts characters, donated and signed by Charles Schulz.

When the panels were defaced with graffiti, neighbors and city leaders worked together to clean up the local treasure. 

"We have so much divisiveness in society, in national politics, local politics, but this today is something that is all positive. It's all about the community, it's all about the history," Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield said at Monday's ceremony.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield joins Tarzana Elementary School students on the Snoopy bridge at the art panels' restoration celebration. KCAL News

The restoration efforts started in the neighborhood. About a year ago, Charles Donovan decided to take action to find a way to clean up the panels. It took some time, a social media post and the councilmember to get the ball rolling.

"I love Snoopy, I love the whole Peanuts characters. It's kind of a valley iconic thing," Donavan said.

"I just would like to see if any 'official' painter from Peanuts can repaint Charlie back to close to the original … Does anyone here have any ideas or connections pertaining to this?," Donovan wrote on a recent social media post.

He also reached out to Blumenfield's office, and the councilman was able to gain legal rights from Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates and his office found the city funds needed to restore the artwork with a local studio.

"Nothing's ever simple. When we first looked into it, it wasn't even registered as a mural. So then there were legal questions of whether we could touch it or couldn't touch it," Blumenfield said.

A team of artists from Hattas Studios in Los Angeles worked on the five most damaged panels, including the defaced Charlie Brown.

"There were holes in some of the panels we had to patch. They were very dirty, so they needed some very serious cleaning, there was graffiti on them that had to be removed and areas needed to be touched up and repainted," Jeanine Hattas Wilson, Hattas Studios CEO and creative director said.

Tarzana Elementary School students celebrate the unveiling of restored art panels on the Snoopy bridge. KCAL News

Stephanie Brody recalled when the panels went up back when she was a Tarzana Elementary School student in the 1970s. She said that the nondescript Wilbur Bridge was constructed over Wilbur Avenue so kids could safely walk over the flooding-prone street when it rained to get to school.

"Most of us remember it was principal (Mende) Koenig and the PTA's connection to Charles Schulz that prompted the Snoopy panels to be gifted to our school for the bridge. As young as we were, we all knew what a special honor it was to receive these panels," Brody said. She said Koenig was a child actor before his career in education.

All 12 panels on the Tarzana famous Snoopy bridge are now anti-graffiti coated, to protect the art for generations to come.

"They're our paintings. They're public art. It's ours," Donavan said.

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