The LA Art Show 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center was the first art fair I ever attended, so I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the art assailing my eyes from seemingly every corner! I found a few great gems and even spotted some familiar names–like graffiti artist TILT whom I recently interviewed for CARTWHEEL.
Street art made its presence felt not only within the galleries’ setups but on an important stage–the LA Dialogs portion of the entire show. Here, a panel of speakers converged Saturday afternoon to discuss public art and murals. “Rebuilding Our Heritage: Ordinance Reform and the Impending Mural Resurgence in L.A.” touched on both political, artistic, and cultural themes with the expertise of artists Judithe Hernandez, Glenna Avila, and Man One along with Tanner Blackman, Planning Director for Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, and Chris Espinoza manager of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, which includes Olvera Street and the newly restored, monumental David Alfaro Siqueiros American Tropical (La América Tropical) mural.
The talk, moderated by Isabel Rojas‐Williams, Executive Director, Mural Conservancy Los Angeles (MCLA), shed light on the importance of weaving public art with politics and the community. All of the speakers, regardless of their current positions on murals, agreed on the idea of public art creating an impact on the surrounding community. All the panel speakers continue to work towards an ordinance that will make public art legal. The speakers also kept in mind the idea of youth, graffiti and the city’s past as they stressed the importance of allowing artists the opportunity to create large-scale pieces that positively influence society.
The most important point, in fact, lay in the power of the mural to inspire others to create. Rojas-Williams emphasized the idea that public art exposes many viewers to the power of art; the artists on the panel encouraged possible future mural-makers to work hard at their craft and take into consideration the community at large when creating their work. Ultimately, public art becomes not so much the property of the artist who created a work but the community that walks and drives by it day after day.