Artists, Historians To Discuss the Future of L.A. Murals

By EGP Staff Report

Painted just three weeks ago in response to the mural moratorium, a new mural (pictured) by UPPA artists on 1st Street and Cummings in Boyle Heights, illustrates the collective’s point of view: “Even concrete walls, cannot stop the beauty of life.” (Photo courtesy of Carlos Callejo & UPPA)

“The historical significance of muralism in the City of Los Angeles, beginning with the Chicano social and political movement,” will be the focus of a panel discussion taking place next week at East Los Angeles College’s Vincent Price Museum, according to the event moderator, Jimmy Centeno, a local historian, archivist, photographer and artist.

“Bringing Into Conversation: Restoring Memory In The Public Space” will be held at the museum on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m.

According to Centeno, panelists will discuss the current debate over a new Mural Ordinance under consideration in the City of Los Angeles.

Since 2002, L.A. has prohibited the creation of murals, according to Centeno.

The prohibition was a response to complaints that many of the murals being created were actually commercial signage, not public art as some business owners and so-called commercial mural painters were trying to make the public, and city officials believe.

Before the prohibition, there was a rash of murals that lacked true artistry, according to a Highland Park resident, speaking at a recent forum held to discuss the proposed new ordinance.

Artists have been fighting for years to remove, or at least change the terms of the city’s mural ordinance to allow the creation of murals that are real works of public art, and the preservation of many of the city’s existing murals.

Next week’s panel discussion at the Vincent Price Museum “will depart from the muralist/activist lived experience in utilizing art as a form of social awareness, and [focus on] the role played by grassroot activism in drafting an ordinance that was developed through an extensive public hearing process and [which]  is reflective of how the public artists in the city view pro-active policy,” Centeno said in email.

Centeno noted that members of United Painters and Public Artists, UPPA, have been “at the forefront in the drafting of this mural ordinance.”

UPPA represents 75 diverse artists from across the city that collectively have more than 400 years of mural creation experience.

The panelists taking part in next week’s discussion are: Norma Montoya, community activist and the lead woman  muralist heading the creation of over 80 murals in the Estrada Courts Housing Projects during the 1970; Joseph “Nuke” Montalvo, a contemporary graffiti muralist who works with youth in the community; Carlos Callejos, a longtime muralists and community activist who has been creating murals in the city since the 1970s, and an influential figure during the L.A.’s  mural movement during the 1970s; art historian, archivists and independent curator Lisbeth  Espinosa; and Tabber Blackman, a planner for the Code Studies Section of the City of LA’s Department of City Planning.

The Vincent Price Museum is located at East Los Angeles College: 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, 91754.

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January 19, 2012  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


3 Responses to “Artists, Historians To Discuss the Future of L.A. Murals”

  1. Manuel on January 19th, 2012 4:50 pm

    I hope that this forum will foster a dialogue that will lead to positive changes for artists in the broad Los Angeles community. Public art is the most important type of art because it is accessible to all. As a society, we should support works of public art that enrich our everyday lives.

  2. Jimmy on January 21st, 2012 12:46 am

    Estimado Manuel,

    The event will be a great opportunity to exchange ideas, concerns, insight and support. UPPA members and I look forward to meeting you this Thursday at the Vincent Price Art Museum. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    JImmy Centeno

  3. Jesus Garza on January 23rd, 2012 4:30 pm

    One persons art is another persons junk. The dialogue at this gathering should be quite interesting. I believe that “some” art in museums, galleries, offices, homes and on public walls is trash. Who will be the arbiter of good taste? Good luck.

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