SHAME on Gloria Molina for attacking FoLAR over legal murals in the River

1. Event announcement and details.

2. some video from the event…

3. From staffer Steve Hymon’s column in the Los Angeles Times – Nov 12, 2007

“Q: What is the big flap over murals along the Arroyo Seco about?

The fine line between murals and graffiti.

Several weeks ago, Friends of the Los Angeles River organized an event to allow artists to paint murals along the concrete walls of the Arroyo Seco, near where it empties into the L.A. River in downtown.

The idea was to give those who like to paint or tag a legal outlet. Well-known artist Man One also was also involved.

That was well and good, until county Supervisor Gloria Molina caught wind of the event after the fact and hit the roof. She didn’t like the content of some of the murals — one showed a topless woman — and worried that the murals would attract graffiti.

“We’ve always looked to them as partners in beautifying and greening the river, but with friends like this, who needs enemies,” Molina said Friday of the group’s mural project. “I think they have really violated their own mission.”

The dispute got juicier when some of the murals mysteriously were painted over. The group had obtained permits ahead of time and wanted to know if the county was responsible for the over-painting, but the county said no.

“Why not paint some place like that? — a completely degraded area where no one is living,” said Lewis MacAdams, a founder of the group. “I think we opened doors to whole new communities who had never been around the Los Angeles River.”

We visited the site with Councilman Ed Reyes last week. Reyes, the chairman of the council’s river restoration committee, hiked up his pants and waded in his dress shoes into the shallow water to look at the murals.

Reyes, who was told of the event ahead of time, said he sides with Molina. Although he found some of the remaining murals interesting — and we agree — most, he noted, have been tagged in recent weeks.

“What really worries me is that a tagging crew is going to come down here late one night and run into another tagging crew, and someone is going to get shot,” Reyes said.

Interestingly, he shares a similar frustration with the river group: Everywhere he looks, he sees graffiti, and he isn’t sure what to do about it. Create a graffiti art park? Crack down with more cops? Nothing, so far, has really worked, Reyes said.

In that vein, city contractors last year removed 3,864,422 square feet of graffiti from 35,847 locations in Reyes’ district, which includes neighborhoods west of downtown and parts of northeast L.A.

Congress last week overrode a presidential veto of a water bill that contains $25 million for L.A. River renovation. The money still has to be budgeted, but it’s a start.

If you’re keeping score at home, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-East Los Angeles) bird-dogged the funds in the House, and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) did so on the Senate side.

As for the senator, the accompanying Boxer-o-Meter shows she has only $54 million to go to fulfill a promise to obtain $79 million for the river.

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4 responses to “SHAME on Gloria Molina for attacking FoLAR over legal murals in the River

  1. I agree with Lewis MacAdams. The benefits of having new communities introduced to the river are far greater than the possible negatives. Besides, those mural were not tags, but art. Since when does art spark gang violence? Clearly Molina and Reyes are playing it safe, not wanting to look like they support anything remotely gang related. In my opinion, anything is better than the concrete prison we have now. Viva La Graffiti!

  2. While I’m all for art, would it be ok if we people did graffiti in Lewis MacAdam’s neighborhood? If yeah then yay for graffiti art, if no then what gives “outsiders” the right to decide what is and is not done in a neighborhood, because I know for a fact neither Lewis or Man One live in the neighborhood they painted in.

    Of course nothing belongs to anyone else, but can people from the eastside come to downtown and make some of the new cement buildings pretty, because I personally think the new modern brutalism type architecture is a bit of an eyesore. I think I should start up a group and go down to the 5th and Spring and start painting.

    If Self Help Graphics had been involved then ok, but where were the eastside galleries? Where were the established eastside mural artists, the ones who have been around since the beginning.

    Gloria Molina was one of Lewis MacAdams and FoLARS biggest supporters. She’s not some politician that came out of nowhere she was a person who had FoLARs back when other people did not.

    I know people who go just discovered Little Joy think graffiti is a cool thing, very urban and “eastside,” but to mom’s who live on the eastside, to mom’s in South LA it means something very different.

    Was the neighborhood spoken to, where the neighborhood adults spoken to the people who own houses there? Or did some guy with connections just talk to the right people and just did whatever the heck he wanted in another person’s neighborhood and asked some kids from the city if they wanted to play?

    Again, if I’m allowed to draw in Lewis MacAdams or Man One’s neighborhood then I would understand, but if not then I question who gets decide what is and is not art in a section of town that they don’t even live in.

    Browne

  3. Browne:

    1. Following is a list of the graf artists involved, from the press release available on this site and elsewhere on the internet, which you ignored. Note that many of these artists are indeed local:

    “MOS:LA will bring together many of the top writers and crews from the L.A. area and beyond. Here is a list of crew and artist participants (subject to change):
    MAN ONE, VYAL, SACRED, WERC, CROL, SHERM, YORES, PUPPET, ASYLM, SWANK, PANIC, EYEONE, MODEM, PRECISE, ACME, MANDOE, NEO, PROSE, WRAM, ASTEK, EKURA, BASH, BISER, DEEN, KEY, KEEPS, ZUCO, METHOD, DSRUP, NOEK, CACHE, COKA, PRANKS, FASHION, PIN, CRAE, ANE, DECODE, LENK, REXOR,VERT-ONE, DOME 87, PHIB, PRYER, THANKS, RVEE, RUEBS, ROTEN, UKAI, SPIRO/STIGMA, FIE, MEGS, KALM, ALOY, DES, ZERK, WORSE, LOYER, NEED, DERSE, VOX, BESK, CEZR, MAKE, DEF, RELIC, TELER, HEAVEN, CALE, CRETE 85, KEO, OWEN, SCUD, ANGER, AXIS, NATOE, POSH, AURA, SPLIT, ATLAS, ALTER, SINER, CRE8, MIDZT, DUCE, MOZZER, REVOK, SABER, TYKE, PUSH, EKLIPSE, RETNA, KRUSH, RISKY, OG ABEL, ZOUEH, FEARO, KOFIE, NUKE, CHEE, ITALO, RASO, THANKS, PLEK, SWAB, KAPOW, OMEGA, THUS, RVEE, PAKA, DASH2000, ESK31, OZIE, USE, SER, CAP, BEATL, BADCOKE, PLETIK, SPURN, ARCO, ESQUE, RUET, RELIC, SIZE, PALE, RELAX, CAB, UNIT, SKYPAGER, AERO, PERSUE, DEMON, ZORE, and others…”

    2. “Gloria Molina was one of Lewis MacAdams and FoLARS biggest supporters. She’s not some politician that came out of nowhere she was a person who had FoLARs back when other people did not.”

    Please substantiate your claims here regarding Molina’s past support for FoLAR.

    3. The entire painting event was indeed fully permitted and approved.

    4. re: “I know people who go just discovered Little Joy think graffiti is a cool thing, very urban and “eastside,” but to mom’s who live on the eastside, to mom’s in South LA it means something very different.”

    How very patronizing and sexist of you. The mothers of East L.A. and South L.A. are able to tell the difference between art and gang tagging, just like the rest of us.

    5. re: “but can people from the eastside come to downtown and make some of the new cement buildings pretty, because I personally think the new modern brutalism type architecture is a bit of an eyesore. I think I should start up a group and go down to the 5th and Spring and start painting.”

    Great suggestion! You won’t hear an objection from me. You go, Browne!

  4. I f Browne had ever been to the location, he would know that there are no houses within several blocks. There might be an artist or two living in a loft, but it is not a residential neighborhood.

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