Saturday's Friendship Festival in Old Downtown Torrance will be friendly after all.
Earlier this week, the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce was surprised to read that a poster commemorating the city's 75th anniversary was going to be promoted and sold at the chamber-sponsored festival.
Problem was, the poster wasn't the one by Torrance artist Rita Schroeder that the chamber had commissioned.
It turns out that another enterprising illustrator, Cheryl Cummins, 42, of Lomita, had the same idea as the chamber and had painted her own tribute to the city's anniversary. Her painting, not quite finished, was featured in a color photo in the Daily Breeze Tuesday.
After numerous phone calls, the situation has been cleared up amicably. Orders for the chamber-commissioned poster will be taken Saturday, but Cummins' painting--if completed on time--will also be displayed at the festival.
Cummins said city officials have assured her that she can sell reproductions of her painting, which won't be printed by Saturday anyway, at other anniversary events throughout the year.
Cummins said she is not upset that she will not be allowed to sell her posters at the Friendship Festival. "This just motivates me even more," she said in an interview Wednesday. "I've learned a lot from this. I came in at the tail end of this thing. I can't expect them to change the rules just for me."
Cummins said she did the painting because "I lived in Torrance for over 20 years and I had never seen anything done for the city like that." She said profit was also a motivating factor "because I would love to do this type of work all my life and still pay my bills."
Dan McClain, general manager of the chamber, said he was looking only to protect the city when he complained about another city poster being available at the festival.
'It Would Be Confusing'
"It would be confusing for another poster to be available for sale at the same time and place," McClain said. He said Cummins "has every right to market her poster. But not at the Friendship Festival."
The festival is where the chamber's "official" painting, by Schroeder, will be unveiled.
"I worked like a dog to get it done," Schroeder said in an interview. Schroeder, who said she is in her 40s, added that she will be paid her $3,000 commission plus royalties on poster sales in any case, but that the chamber stood to lose a lot of money if a second poster had been allowed at the festival.
The festival, sponsored by the chamber and the Downtown Merchants Assn., will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in an area bordered by Sartori, El Prado and Marcelina avenues. Admission is free.
McClain laughed when a reporter pointed out that the chamber, champion of free enterprise, was arguing for monopoly rights.
"In this case, yes," he said.