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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

San Juan Capistrano resident Rich Heimann has spoken at city council meetings and Coffee Chat forums about his desire to see more publicly accessible art in San Juan Capistrano.

Going a step further, he’s now formed a nonprofit called The Alliance for San Juan Art, which will serve as a funding source for his vision of art in the public square.

“Funding from private sources is probably the principal way,” Heimann said.

He mentioned tile panels depicting San Juan culture and history as the type of art he has in mind. Heimann also mentioned sculptures, which could go on the corners of the downtown gateway near Del Obispo Street and Ortega Highway as a possible location.

“We envision 20 to 30 of these around town. We’d have to have building owners’ permission,” Heimann said. “That’s part of the thing we envision. We’ll have to see if that comes about.”

San Juan Capistrano resident Rich Heimann is taking his advocacy for public art in town a step further, by forming a nonprofit to secure funding. Photo: Courtesy of Lou Heimann.

Heimann also suggested covering utility boxes with art, an idea recently instituted in Dana Point.

“All of these (ideas) are with smaller sums of money,” Heimann said. “You don’t need the big money, like you do for the sculptures.”

Public art could benefit San Juan in increased tax revenue, given how it would enhance the town’s appearance and could attract more art galleries and restaurants, Heimann said. The project is being promoted in a way that would solicit permission from the city and property owners when it comes to art being installed.

“It’s too good to be against,” Heimann said of the community support for his idea.

Exactly what sort of art would go up should be a selection made by community members, Heimann said.

A “Made in the OC” mural is painted on the side of the Marshall’s building at Plaza Del Obispo. San Juan Capistrano resident Rich Heimann is promoting the idea of more public art throughout town. Photo: Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at

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