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Panorama Mama

In Los Angeles, bulldozers are circling Sara Velas' mural in the round

As the panorama’s days dwindle, Velas is planning another gala for the rotunda, this one of farewell—half-celebration and half-wake. “We’re going to have a guy who’s part of a 19th-century brass band play taps,” she says. “And we’re going to give out little pieces of the garden to the guests so they can replant them wherever they want.” With much fanfare, she’ll remove the giant cherry from the hut’s summit for safekeeping and future installation.

In late March, Velas learned that the early-1900s Union Theatre, a modest brick movie venue most recently used as a church, might be available to rent. It’s not a rotunda, but Velas is confident she can construct a round interior framework. She also hopes to “create a space where you could enter the panorama through the center, instead of through a door that breaks the continuity of the painting.” And she appreciates the irony of displaying her art in a movie house. “Panoramas died out partly because of the rise of the moving image,” she says, “so the idea of a panorama taking over a movie theater is a very fun possibility.”

 
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