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Save Freeway Murals – Los Angeles


Listed below will be the gorgeous 13 murals on downtown Los Angeles freeways that were commissioned for the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival. As each mural is preserved, restored, conserved and maintained (anti graffiti efforts) it will be listed on this index page and the link will take you to the summary pages for short super interesting videos, unusual photos and inside technical info. Sign up (top right of web page) for updates to be notified when we add new info!


Graffiti abatement on a mural

Graffiti removal from downtown LA mural by Kent Twitchell

1. The first mural to be worked on was the Jim Morphesis Monument by Kent Twitchell. It is located on the 101 freeway under the Grand Ave. overpass. Click here to see videos and written info.  http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/jim-morphesis-monument-by-kent-twitchell/

 

History of Mural Conservation – Restoration Efforts

10 living master muralists, commissioned for the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival, painted the the 1984 Olympics murals series that adorned Downtown LA freeways with 13 monumental fabulous murals. The smallest of these murals is 15 feet high and 45 feet wide. The largest is 23 feet high and 300 feet long!! Since their placement on the freeways, however, vandalism graffiti has all but obliterated the fabulous, quality public works of art and has saddened millions of Los Angelinos and visitors. Once tagged, Caltrans has painted over 9 of the 13 murals through the years with gray paint. 4 of the murals have escaped the overpainting by Caltrans.

There have been compelling desires over the years to restore first the murals not painted out by Caltrans but ultimately all of the 13 murals. Yes, the gray overpaint by Caltrans can be removed and the original murals restored to look wonderful. But efforts have always fallen short when it comes to maintaining the murals and keeping the graffiti off. There have been a number of reasons for this but it boils down to establishing a professional, committed organization/team to follow through and work well with all the entities involved… and the consistency to “stay on it.”

The definitive and actionable planning for this conservation – restoration and maintenance effort was put into action in April of 2011 when The Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA) invited FACL, Inc. and Scott M. Haskins, art and mural conservator to meet on the freeways with Caltrans: http://www.fineartconservationlab.com/projects/murals/mural-conservancy-of- los-angeles-meets-with-caltrans-to-inspect-downtown-la-freeway-murals/.

Several graffiti removal processes were evaluated in a subsequent visit in June 2011 to the mural “Jim Morphesis Monument” with Caltrans’ Vincent Moreno and artist, Kent Twitchell. With the “adoption” of Jim Morphesis Monument and the raising of funds for its continued maintenance, graffiti removal tests were done to establish the cleaning and mural restoration processes. Combinations of methodology and materials specifically customized to meet the needs of this particular mural were evaluated with the purpose of discovering the right method to get the job done quickly (a necessary requirement while working on a freeway!) and be able to maintain it easily over time (as the mural gets retagged). The results of research and treatment for this mural will be able to be applied for the conservation-restoration of the other 12 murals… in the near future, we hope!!!!

If your company/organization would like to sponsor a mural (and use the image, the artist’s collaboration and the positive PR for your company) or if you would like to make a personal donation to help keep the graffiti off the murals, go to http://www.muralconservancy.org and speak with Isabel Rojas-Williams, Executive Director at MCLA (213)291 6900. Take action now to keep Los Angeles beautiful.

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9 Responses to Save Freeway Murals – Los Angeles

  1. Scott M. Haskins says:

    Thanks for the comment Katherine. The reasoning behind the method of protective layer application is kind of complicated. Why don’t you give me a call and I’ll explain it to you in detail and answer all your questions? My office number is 805 564 3438

  2. Katherine says:

    Wonderful work Scott and team! I have done a great number of murals and have been lucky to have escaped tags. I have varnished mine in the past, but wondered what type of varnish you used on the freeway murals. I’d like to be sure to use the very best. You do such beautiful work.

  3. Pingback: AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – Public Art Outreach Session, May 10, 2012 | Conservators Converse

  4. As mentioned in another comment, I really love murals since they add so much life and character to a town. However, I kinda like graffiti too when it’s really well done. I certainly would not support graffiti staying over a mural, but I have always thought that it would be great if people were free to “art up” their communities. Sometimes I fantasize about starting some sort of intentional artists community where that sort of thing is encouraged.
    Rachael Towne´s last [type] ..Learnphotography101.com – Site Review

  5. Scott M. Haskins says:

    As you read and see in the videos on Jim Morphesis Monument, surveillance cameras were installed by Caltrans that are being monitored by city police, CHP and others. That’s one technique to scare them away and to find offenders.

  6. Marian Weiland says:

    Wow! What a restoration! You did a good job. The problem is, how do you prevent people from putting graffiti again on the wall?

  7. Pingback: Video Surveillance of Public Art Mural- Catching Graffiti Vandals | Fine Art Conservation Laboratories (FACL, Inc.)

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  9. Elizabeth says:

    I am so glad you are doing this! It’ll make my daily drive more interesting. Thanks


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