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Occupy L.A.: Protesters oppose plan for City Hall murals

Robert G. who is originally from the Midwest rests under the painted plywood walls around the fountain on the South lawns of Los Angeles City Hall as he has been at Occupy LA for almost one month last November. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

Occupy Los Angeles protesters want their murals back.

During their 58-day encampment on City Hall's south lawn, the protesters painted colorful pictures and slogans on several tall plywood walls that city workers put up to protect two monuments on the park grounds at Spring and 1st streets.

After police cleared the park on the night of Nov. 29, arresting about 300 people, the walls were taken down. In January, the city's Department of Cultural Affairs issued an open call "to public and private entities, including but not limited to museums, galleries, arts organizations or educational institutions" wishing to store and exhibit the murals.

“These wooden enclosures (Occupy LA Artifacts) are now perhaps cultural artifacts and works of art, evoking the spirit of an event of national/international importance and attention,” according to a letter from cultural affairs. “The city of Los Angeles wishes to see that the Occupy L.A. artifacts are publicly displayed in the near future and protected for future audiences."

This week, Occupy L.A. posted a response on its website, saying that the murals symbolize much of their movement and should “neither be owned, nor released to institutions.”

“We respectfully deny your call for conditional possession of the OLA Murals. We believe your appraisal of the OLA Murals misunderstands their true purpose and value,” the protesters wrote. “The OLA Murals were made for the People and they belong to the People.”

The group invited the agency to turn the murals over to them so that they -- not city officials -- can decide who should preserve them.

How the city will respond was unclear late Friday. In the meantime, public or private groups are open to apply to cultural affairs by a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday.


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-- Ari Bloomekatz at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Robert G. rests next to the painted plywood around the fountain at City Hall. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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