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Prominent Santa Rosa murals to be demolished

A prominent set of murals that adorn a closed Chinese restaurant on a bustling Santa Rosa corner will be torn down in coming weeks.

The China Light restaurant on the corner of College and Cleveland avenues will be demolished along with the three large murals that include Santa Rosa artist Judy Kennedy’s 2014 replica of Edward Hopper’s iconic diner scene, “Nighthawks.” A colorful abstract painting Kennedy created in 2017 with artist Jared Powell also will be removed.

Kennedy and Powell said they have long known their artwork would be destroyed to make way for future development.

“It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s public art, and I don’t think public art needs to be up for 20 years because tastes change,” Kennedy said. “It was such a great feeling just to have people really appreciate it and to be able to bring some joy.”

The restaurant and a cabinet shop on the roughly 1-acre parcel have been vacant for years, said Mordechai Winter, who owns the property.

Plans to develop more than ?9,000 square feet of commercial space on the lot were put on hold indefinitely in recent months amid increasing post-fire construction costs, he said.

The city required the removal of the two dilapidated buildings, and work to demolish them began Monday, Winter said.

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