Infusing the freeways with art: Mural conservancy restores hidden gems

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I had to wear a hard hat and day-glo vest to see the murals on the 101.  All you need to do is gaze safely out of the window of your car. A million people ride through downtown each day, and, bit by bit, they’re being reintroduced to thirty-year old bursts of color, in the form of murals.

The artworks were first commissioned for the 1984 Olympics.  Taggers and the elements have had their way with them, and the state painted over them a while back. Now, thanks to the Mural Conservancy Project of Los Angeles, they’re coming back to life. Executive Director Isabel Rojas-Williams gave me the tour of the shoulder.  She calls the conservation work “our Sistine Chapel.”

LA Freeway Kids  Photo by Ian Robertson-Salt
LA Freeway Kids Photo by Ian Robertson-Salt
More photos and my conversation with muralist William Franklin Herron III, below:

Lita Albuquerque Monument photo by Ian Robertson-Salt
Lita Albuquerque Monument photo by Ian Robertson-Salt

And here’s my conversation with muralist/conservator William Franklin Herron III, who says he’s becoming accustomed to being a circus act on the freeway (motorists often honk at him.)  His five hours a day of work are sandwiched in between rush hour, so he’s out during the least busy times: