Lauren Ann Freeman was trying to live right on the night of Nov. 10, 2010.
After a night out seeing a favorite band at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip, the 21-year-old art school graduate hailed a taxi for herself and her friends. She didn't want anyone drinking and driving.
But Freeman didn't make it into that backseat.
Thirty-four-year-old Ryan Bowman, previously best-known for his work distributing Girls Gone Wild content in Australia, was driving a charcoal-colored, six-figure Bentley when it plowed into the young woman, tossing her 50 feet down the famous boulevard and ultimately killing her.
Bowman drove off with out stopping, and his damaged Bentley was found a mile or so away from the club, sans its plates, the next afternoon. Bowman turned himself in and, with the help of all the lawyering money can buy, got a plea deal that had him admitting guilt to leaving the scene of an accident.
This week Baltimore artist Michael Owen, known for his Love Project series that features four hands spelling out “love” on 20 murals in that city, is coming to town to dedicate a similar piece in Freeman's memory. It will adorn a large wall on the side of the Roxy.
The artist is trying to raise $15,000 by Saturday via the website GoFundMe to bring Freeman's Baltimore-based parents to West Hollywood to see his work this weekend and to help defray his own costs, he told us.
“We wanted it to be funded by the people,” he said. “This is way for people to get behind the work.”
Owen says he was contacted on Facebook by Freeman's mother, Donna Freeman, who asked him if he could dedicate a Love Project to her late child. He says:
When I heard Donna's story, and she contacted me, I couldn't help but want to help. Being able to memorialize a loved one with the word love is something I want to get behind. We came up with the idea to put it up on the Roxy, and they were down to be a part of it.
Owen will create the work in front of friends and family, with live music playing, on Saturday, he said.
“It's not just black hands,” the artist said. “It will be filled with words and colors that pay homage to Lauren's spirit.”
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