Public Murals have been a part of the cultural landscape of southern California since the early twentieth century. A brief history of the social mural movement is available at the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). The vision of SPARC is rooted in the Mexican social mural movement as expressed by David Alfaro Siqueiros: “We repudiate so-called easel art and all such art which springs from ultra-intellectual circles, for it is essentially aristocratic. We hail the monumental expression of art because such art is public property.”
The brief history includes an abridged version of of an article by the Artistic Director and Founder of SPARC, Professor Judith F. Baca, written in 2001, entitled Birth of a Movement. In the article, as recounted on the SPARC site, she describes “how the ideals of the Mexican social mural movement inspired Los Angeles muralists in the 1970’s and how her work painting murals with at-risk youth formed the basis of the first city-wide mural program and eventually led to the creation of SPARC.”
Robin Dunitz Slides of Los Angeles Murals, 1925-2002 This digital collection consists of more than 2,000 digitized 35mm slides of murals in Los Angeles photographed by Robin Dunitz. The murals date from 1925 to the early 2000s and were photographed by Robin Dunitz in the late 1980s and early-mid 1990s to early 2000s. Dunitz, was a long time resident of Los Angeles, and an independent researcher on the city’s murals.
Dunitz’s archival collection on Los Angeles murals is housed in the University of Southern California (USC) Architecture and Fine Arts Library. A listing of the contents of the archival collection may be found in the finding aid at Robin Dunitz California and Los Angeles Murals Files.
Since 1987, the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles (MCLA) has worked to restore, preserve, and document the murals of Los Angeles. The MCLA works to protect the legal rights of artists, prevent the loss of significant works of public art, and preserve the artists heritage of Los Angeles as one of the mural capitals of the world. The MCLA maintains a database of Los Angeles’ Mural History linking artists, murals and neighborhoods.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) has a Citywide Mural Program
James Prigoff (co-author). Walls of Heritage, Walls of Pride: African American Murals. Pomegranate Press, 2000
Street gallery: guide to 1000 Los Angeles murals. Revised edition, RJD Enterprises, 1998
James Prigoff (co-author). Painting the towns: murals of California. RJD Enterprises, 1997
FatCap is a graffiti and street-art resource that provides examples of public art in cities around the world