Photo by Angel Lizarraga/ Boyle Heights Beat
*Update Wednesday, Sept. 4: The LA City Council voted 12-3 Wednesday to finalize the measure, which has been sent to Mayor Eric Garcetti for final approval.
Murals may soon be coloring the Los Angeles landscape once again. Today, the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-2 to overturn the decade-long ban on public art, and adopt a new ordinance.
The new ordinance will identify murals separate from signs, with a focus on murals as original works of art. The decision allows murals on a residential lot with at least two single-family homes.
The Department of Cultural Affairs will also consider a pilot program in Council Districts 1 and 14 that would allow murals on single-family residences in those districts. City officials agreed to draft an opt-in process for neighborhoods wishing to allow murals on homes.
In a statement, District 1 Councilman Gil Cedillo said, “We have made history in the City of Los Angeles today. Artists will once again be free to add to the cultural richness of the city through the contribution of their artistic expression.”
While the ban was originally intended to stop the spread of public advertisements and commercial signage, opponents have said it has hindered the work of artists.
District 14 Councilman Jose Huizar has introduced 19 motions in support of murals and mural restoration.
“Today, as a city we decided to embrace our history and re-affirm our commitment to supporting the arts, community building, and beautifying our neighborhoods through murals,” said Huizar in a press release. “Now we can begin to re-affirm our claim as the ‘Mural Capital of the World.”
According to Huizar’s office, Council District 14 has twice as many murals as any other Council District.
The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA) helped recruit artists and community leaders to draft the ordinance. Executive Director Isabel Rojas-Williams said, “It’s going to help make Los Angeles one of the most creative cities in the world.”
Councilmen Paul Koretz and Bob Blumenfield, voted against the measure, which must come back for final council approval next week.
The Department of Cultural Affairs will now have the authority to permit murals that remain in place for at least two years. Restrictions include that murals be created without electrical or mechanical components, not exceed the height of a structure, and not extend more than 6 inches from a wall.
In 30 days, the Planning and Arts Committee will meet to review murals on apartment buildings and duplexes.