Three months ago, County Supervisor Gloria Molina, through an emergency measure passed by the County Board of Supervisors, gave Friends of the Los Angeles River an ultimatum — remove the mural at the Arroyo Seco in 90 days, or pay through the teeth.
Ninety days have passed and there is still no resolution to the mural fiasco.
The mural, fully permitted by the county and the product of the wildly popular international graffiti event Meeting of Styles, remains, and neither the county, FoLAR nor Meeting of Styles organizer Man One have made any attempts to remove it.
(Above, one of the images that offends Molina. Photo by Mark Mauer. More here.)
Part of that, says Molina spokesperson Roxane Marquez, is that the county needed to give an additional 30 days of public notice before any action can be taken on the mural. Marquez says that notice was given last month, and that the county, through the Department of Public Works, can't touch the mural until April 12th.
Though the whitewash of the Arroyo Seco mural appears eminent, it remains to be seen who is actually going to complete the buffing, and who's going to foot the bill. Molina's emergency measure declares FoLAR liable for the removal of the art. Yet the county permit holder for the event was Man One and not the river organization.
“We plan to bill both of them,” says Marquez. “In all our discussions over the mural, Man One and FoLAR have always worked in concert with one another. Man One is indeed the permit holder, but we feel we're on firm ground [billing FoLAR too].”
Though they claim to be on firm ground, the county can't feel too confident forcing a popular non-profit and celebrated artist to pay for the whitewashing of a mural that the county themselves granted the permit for. They appear to be hoping that the mere threat of a bill that could potentially reach $70,000 will prompt either FoLAR or Man One to take it upon themselves to remove the mural.
“The soonest the Department of Public Works can remove the mural is April 12th,” says Marquez, “but we are aware of no immediate plans to have the work done at this point.”
Neither, however, is Man One.
“We did nothing illegal and we had permits,” he recently told the AP. “We're in the business of creating art, not destroying it.”
And so the stalemate continues — at least until April 12th.
All photos by Mark Mauer.
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