“Original Art Murals comprise a unique medium of expression that serves the public interest.”
Shocking as that may sound, it is just one of the statements contained in a proposed new mural ordinance in Los Angeles. We don’t usually dip our toes into policy discussions regarding public art, preferring to concentrate on the art and the artist and where we’re headed from that perspective. But it has been a bit of high theater to see the machinations at work in a city prized for it’s history of public murals as official policy has wiped out perfectly legal community approved artworks and secured the rights of corporations to blight neighborhoods with billboard messages to buy goods and services.
”For months, the L.A. Department of City Planning has been teasing street artists with announcements of a new ordinance that would lift the current ban on all pre-approved murals on private property in Los Angeles,” says the LA Weekly Blog yesterday, as they take the council of the celebrated local graffiti artist Saber and his community arts activist buddy Daniel Lahoda, among others, to pound out an agreement that puts public art back in peoples hands. Without talking about vandalism, the current laws on the books actually prevent a property owner from commissioning artwork on their own buildings. The new policy will re-classify murals as “original works of art” as long as they are not shilling for a business. Also, puppies are cute. And boys like girls in short skirts. And the Pope is Catholic.
Below a selection of images from the murals in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles as part of the LA Freewalls Project spearheaded by Daniel Lahoda.