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L.A.'s Battle Over Murals

Anna Sterling |
February 16, 2014 | 2:36 p.m. PST

Executive Producer
Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance this past October allowing artists to register murals with the city.
The law effectively lifts the city's 11-year ban on murals. It also protects muralists against building owners who try to take murals down illegally.
Originally, murals were under the same category as commercial advertising. Advertisers started to put up ads that looked a lot like murals, according to Kent Twitchell, famed L.A. muralist.
"The city got so many complaints from people who didn’t want the city to look like [the movie] Bladerunner," said Twitchell.
“The sign companies got censored, they think," said Eric Bjorgum, an attorney and member of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles' board of directors. "They said ‘Well, look at all these murals. You’re not censoring them. Why are you censoring us?'"
In 2002, the city responded to ad companies' increased litigation by putting a blanket ban over both murals and commercial ads.
Supporters of the law, like Councilmember Jose Huizar, hope that the ordinance will usher in a new era for Los Angeles street art and restore the city's title as "mural capital of the world."
However, issues like vandalism and artists' reluctance to register projects with the city work to ensure that the solution may not be as simple as changing the law. 
Reach Executive Producer Anna Sterling here. Follow her on Twitter here.
Click through the first gallery to see Kent Twitchell's work, including the mural he worked on with Michael Jackson. Click through the second gallery to see street art in downtown's Arts District.



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