Monumental LA

Walking around the various parts of LA, one can immediately begin to notice that the city is covered in various forms of art. The city itself is a concrete canvas ready to be clad with the creativity of its diverse inhabitants. The city’s art portends such artistic activities and the atmosphere teeming in the streets feels like a warm welcome by Minerva herself, the Roman goddess patron of art.

The biggest manifestation of art in LA can be seen not only in the many museums the city has to offer, but on the walls of some of its buildings. Murals have been embraced by LA artists and are mainly present in its more “urban” neighborhoods. Places like Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Highland Park to name a few, feature original work by artists that have decided to use the cityscape itself to create a reflective portrait of the city. These works of art tell the story of LA in a visual way, not just in their content, but as time capsules left behind, slowly decaying and fading away like the populations that once inhabited its vicinity. Their disappearance reveals our insensitivity to culture and our lust for progress and money.

As I plan my first trip to Europe, I stand in utter disbelief that I will be able to contemplate with my very own eyes the monuments and art that are housed there. I will be travelling specifically to Rome and Florence, two of the ancient world’s most affluent cities. Some of this art was created by masters such as Michelangelo and Leonardo inspired by their very own hometowns under the patronage of wealthy families like the Medici.

In LA, people that create public art may not have the notorious name or the patronage of wealthy families, but they do have the backing of its people. Like me, they walk by these reflections of urban life on a daily basis as they beckon us to be more contemplative. To take a second out of our busy lives and take a mindful look at them and read the writing on the wall. In a city that is in constant flux due to the continual influx of people, murals may be there today and not there tomorrow. They are as monumental as they are momentary.

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