murals | Notes on Looking

LA is getting its murals back!

Back in July, muralists from all over Los Angeles filled up room 340 in City Hall to find out that the LA City Mural Ordinance could not be agreed on and we’d all have to wait until September to find out when and under what circumstances original art murals on private property would be legal again.  But then in September the City postponed it to October.  After a 10-year Mural Moratorium, artists were getting tired and fed up.  (Here’s the link to my post back in July about the Public Hearing in case you missed it.) So on Thursday, we all returned to that same room in City Hall to find out about the future of LA’s walls.  The City Planning Commission (CPC) heard many artists, teachers, activists, etc. explain once again what should be included or disregarded in the proposed ordinance.  Many agreed on the same issues as last time, such as how the definition of “Original Art Mural” shouldn’t include digitally printed images and that single-family homes should be able to have a mural.  The difference in this hearing was that more artists who wanted digital murals included in the ordinance spoke their minds, including Judy Baca from SPARC (who failed to attend the last hearing). After the discussion went back and forth between council members, compromises were starting to be made.  In the end the council members agreed that residential buildings with 2 units could lawfully display a mural.  However, even though there was a big divide in the issue of digitally printed images being permitted, it was not voted against.  We will just have to...

It’s still illegal to make a mural on private property! City Planning Commission delays Mural Ordinance.

LA used to be the mural capital of the world.  For the last 10 years, this title has withered away as there has been a city-wide ban on murals on private property.  Yesterday at City Hall in room 340, I was surrounded by many artists to listen to and fight for the future of LA’s murals. For two hours of public comment, artists and community members came up one by one to share their issues concerning the proposed LA City Mural Ordinance, such as artist Anna Siquieros (the niece of iconic Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros), Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA) Executive Director Isabel Rojas-Williams, muralist and United Painters and Public Artists (UPPA) co-founder Raul Gonzalez,  Art Historian and UPPA co-founder Lisbeth Espinoza, CSUN Professor Yreina Cervantes, muralist Carlos Callejo, and the list goes on and on… The majority of speakers were unhappy with the ordinance.  One huge concern was that the community had attended several meetings and had submitted hundreds of written correspondences to give their ideas to the Department of City Planning (DCP), however, many changes and significant language modifications had been made later by city officials without the local art community’s input. According to UPPA, they are disappointed “by the political process, which favors the interest of big advertisement companies and digital graphic groups that negotiate backroom deals when support from the local art community is not achieved.” Parts of the Ordinance that many artists opposed include: 1.     “Digitally printed images” included in the definition of a mural- Artists argued that a mural should be hand-painted or hand-tiled.  They also stated that vinyl is not...