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City officials try to save Occupy L.A. mural

December 1, 2011 |  1:05 pm

Occupy L.A. mural
City officials are in the process of figuring out a future for a large mural in the center of City Hall park, which served as a gathering spot for protesters during the 58-day Occupy L.A. demonstration.

Olga Garay-English, the executive director of the city's Department of Cultural Affairs, said she received a call from the mayor's office Wednesday afternoon about the mural.

"The mayor's office recognizes that this has historical significance so we're working together to make sure that we come up with a good and appropriate solution," she said.

PHOTOS: Occupy L.A.

The plywood was originally meant to protect a historic white marble fountain, built in 1933 and restored in 2006. The fountain is dedicated to Frank Putnam Flint, a United States senator who helped initiate construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

One side of the plywood now features a large purple octopus, with a crown of the Federal Reserve building, its tentacles clutching a circular ball with a home inside of it.

Garay-English said the mural appears to be a group effort, and is "in the spirit of what's been happening out there."

FULL COVERAGE: Occupy protests

"Maybe storing it isn't the only option," she said. "It would be interesting to work with an organization here to display it."

Others in the art community felt that the mural should be preserved as well.

Carol Wells, the executive director for the Center for the Study of Political Graphics based in Los Angeles, said the mural will be a "tangible reminder of this movement."

"For that reason alone, I think it must be preserved," she said.

Judy Baca, the founder of the Social and Public Art Resource Center, a community arts center in Venice, said it could be difficult to find a home for the mural because of its size, but floated around possible options such as a school, art gallery or even, she joked, the side of a bank building.

"It's a piece of artwork, exactly for the moment we're living," she said.


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Photo: Elise Whitaker, 21, of Los Angeles stands in front of a mural at the Occupy L.A. camp earlier this month. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters