LA City Murals Ordinance Passes, But Private Homes Still Banned from Public Art

Posted by


With a vote of 13-2 the Los Angeles City Council tentatively approved the Mural Ordinance that would lift a decade-long prohibition on murals adorning privately owned buildings, a move that council member José Huizar said would restore the city’s reputation as the “mural capital of the world.” Under the mural ordinance, there would be a $60 city fee to allow a mural to go up on private business property, like store walls, roll down security doors, etc.  The ordinance comes back for final council approval next Wednesday,  September 4.  Please continue to call your councilmembers to show support for the mural ordinance and to thank them for their vote.

But if you live in District 5, which includes a tiny part  the Valley and a huge chunk of the Westside east of the 405 and north of 10 (including inlcuding Bel Air and Holmby Hills, but not the separate cities of Beverly Hills and WestHollywood), plus parts of the Fairfax district to Highland, please call Councilmember Paul Koretz who voted no on the mural ordinance because he

got no calls (from constituents) wanting the murals in their community.

Under that logic, if he got no calls opposing murals, he should have voted yes.

Koretz also has a Facebook page.  If you, or heck, if your family, live in his district, drop him and email or call him.  Councilmember Bob Blumefield also opposed the Mural Ordinance. He is the councilmember from District 3, the West Valley, home to 11:11 Arts Collective, Continental Art Supplies, and the Third Thursdays Canoga Park Art Walk.

Councilman Jose Huizar represents Eastside communities that have long embraced mural art and is also chairman of the council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, whose Tanner Blackman has worked long and hard with mural groups to get the decade long mural ban lifted.  Huizar spoke passionately about the historic and cultural importance of murals. Artists spoke to council, as did representatives from public art groups like Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC), Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA), Venice Arts Council, Plaza de la Raza, Mobile Mural Lab, Self Help Graphics & Art, Art Share-LA United Painters and Public Artists (UPPA), Mictlan Murals, World Siqueiros Foundation of Arts, Conservancy of Urban Art, and LA Freewalls. Mural Conservancy Executive Isabel Rojas-Williams told council:

The mural community stands united before you to ask that you put an end to the dark ages of muralism in Los Angeles.

Luckily 13 councilmembers concurred. But artists in LA still need your help. You need to let your councilmembers know how much you appreciate their vote, andyou need to ask them to support murals on single family houses. You can find your council person here, and some (like nay-sayer Paul Koretz) have Facebook pages

That”s right: The current ordinance would not allow murals on homes, but the council asked its staff to report back on a possible “opt-in” process for specific communities to allow them on single-family residences. Please contact your councilmembers about this important issue!

Homes are private property, and unless you live in a planned community with a home-owners association, I don’t understand why why a homeowner does not have the right to paint a mural on the retaining wall, garage door, front of the house or whatever. When I was three years old, my dad taped of sections of our garage door into geometric patterns and painted each a  different color. (Later, after my parents divorced, my mom created a different pattern using the same method). That form of design is currently banned, as are all murals on private homes. A Philip Lumbang mural on the wall of a private home in Silver Lake was ordered painted over in 2010 by city inspectors. Heart-breaking. You may think Chris Brown’s choice of art for his wall in the Hollywood Hills was not your taste, but he paid for that property.  I legally cannot commission a mural on my chimney, but I am inches away from going ahead and doing it anyway.

Additionally, businesses are allowed to have art murals on their walls, but homeowners can’t? That’s just wrong.

TL/DR: Call or email your council member to thank them for passing the mural ordinance, and to show support of murals in LA.




Leave a Reply