Los Angeles Grapples With Saving Its Murals

The preservation of urban wall art is stirring controversy in the city and around the country.

"From London to Beijing legions of young people have transformed the gray expanse of urban environments into a tangle of color with spray paint and derring-do. And city budgets spend billions yearly to paint them out.

In Los Angeles, known worldwide as a leading center of mural art, there exists another painted tradition: scenes filled with historic figures and dozens of carefully crafted mythological creatures by artists whose reputations span the globe.

...But after several years of funding cuts and policy shifts, artists once drawn to L.A. are moving elsewhere, to Oregon and Philadelphia. And the murals - some decades old - are threatened by deterioration from age, a growing number of gang markings, and city inspectors who are more rigorously demanding that property owners keep their outer walls mural free."

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