Protest Preserved: City Seeks Caretaker for Occupy L.A. Mural

A mural at City Hall Park during the Occupy L.A. encampment | Photo: Sterling Davis Photo

The city of Los Angeles is undergoing a search for an institution to store and exhibit the set of murals and street art created during the Occupy L.A. movement.

Deemed as artifacts, the artworks painted on plywood panels built by the city to protect park monuments was removed after the encampment was evicted in November. They are now being stored at the city's C. Erwin Piper Technical Center.

On Tuesday the Department of Cultural Affairs sent out a notice calling for public or private organizations willing to take "conditional possession" of the street art that "became a canvas for paint, aerosol, and collage images that convey the ideas and experience of the Occupy LA participants."

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DCA prefers to consider those with resources to display the mural publicly for free, and who can curate an exhibition that provides context on the murals' creation and imagery's "sociopolitical and historical value."

In the proposal, the city states it will keep the legal title to ensure proper preservation of the artifacts are maintained and to prevent the mural from being a source of profit.

The main artifact is the four-sided mural. On the wall that faced City Hall, the main image of the Federal Reserve depicted as an octopus was painted by Scott Olsen. The other walls contain an array of images, icons and graffiti by a collective of anonymous artists.

With the history of protest in the city, saving an artifact that was part of a national "movement" and later embedded in the city is unprecedented. "To my knowledge this is a unique effort," says Pat Gomez, Arts Manager of Cultural Affairs.

The deadline for proposals is Monday, February 6th, 2012.

Ed Fuentes has extensively covered mural policy in Los Angeles for KCET's Departures. Read previous mural posts here.

About the Author

Ed Fuentes is an arts journalist, photographer, graphic designer, and digital muralist who covers a variety of topics and geographies in Southern California for KCET.
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