New Murals for Los Angeles?

A mural in Los Feliz seen in 2007

Is it time to usher in a new era of murals on private walls?

For almost ten years the City of Angels has prohibited murals on private property. But there may soon be an end to the so-called "mural moratorium." In an effort to remove blight and respond to a proliferation of commercial advertising, the city implemented the ban (KCET's Departures has been covering the mural policy overhaul extensively at the Land of Sunshine blog).

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But it seems that the powers that be now realize that not all murals lead to blight. The inhabitants of our city may benefit from an increase in public artistic expression.

The City's Mural Task Force will draft a new ordinance to address this issue. The new ordinance will likely be released in 2012. Tanner Blackman, a city planner heading the task force, has said the purpose of the group is to protect existing murals and allow new ones to flourish.

Angelenos should keep a watchful eye out to determine the level of discretion the city gives itself in deciding what type of art is permissible. One woman's treasured painting is another's piece of visual noise. By and large, when it comes to determining the permissible content of art, let us live by the adage of "each to her own," not "each to the discretion of the government."

Jessica Levinson writes about the intersection of law and government in Los Angeles every week. She is a Visiting Professor at Loyola Law School.

The photo used on this post is by Flickr user posixeleni. It was used under a Creative Commons License.

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