FAQs Mural Program

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WHERE DOES THE MURAL PROCESS BEGIN?

A Commercial Business Mural can be initiated by either an individual artist or business/property owner. Artists are encouraged to scout an ideal location for their artwork and approach individual business/property owners about their potential interest to host a temporary mural. A Mural on City Property can be initiated by an individual artist or an artist invited to submit an application.

Individuals/business’/organizations intending to create a mural on an exterior wall that is visible from the public right-of-way and within the City of West Hollywood is subject to the process and guidelines of the City of West Hollywood Mural Art Program.

Ineligible Projects or Applicants include:

  1. Murals on private single family residences/property.
  2. Murals which are not clearly visible/accessible to the public from the public right-of-way.
  3. All interior murals or temporary exterior banners.
  4. Property owners who will not provide a signed WEHO Waiver for Artwork Placed Upon Private Property Form
  5. Artists who are not registered on the WEHO Muralist Roster.
  6. Applicants who are members of the City staff or who serve on the Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission.    

MURAL DEFINITION

For the purposes of the West Hollywood Mural Program, a mural is defined as a large-scale artwork, painting or mosaic, applied to or mounted directly to an exterior surface of a building, construction fence or other structure and that is visible from the public right-of-way. Its primary intent is to be artistic in nature, rather than purely information, creative signage or commercial signage. A mural shall not indicate or describe in narrative, the form of commercial activity that happens inside a building. All mural proposals containing any signage elements, as defined in the City of West Hollywood Municipal Code, will be redirected to submit an application through the Planning Division. 

WHEN IS A MURAL NO LONGER VIABLE AS AN ARTWORK?

All murals are subject to on-going conservation, maintenance and refurbishing and often a mural’s condition should be assessed. It is in the spirit of ensuring that murals funded and supported by the City of West Hollywood look their very best that limits how long a mural is viable. For the purpose of this program, murals supported by the City of West Hollywood are viable for a minimum of one-year with the possibility to apply for an additional two-year extension. This ensures that murals will continue to look as their artists intended. It also ensures that new murals are painted to reflect the changing perspectives and styles of a neighborhood as well as support emerging artists.

BEST PRACTICES FOR MURAL PROJECTS

Professional artists with proven experience can request on average $20-35 per square foot for a custom mural.

EXAMPLE MURAL BUDGET TEMPLATE FOR ARTISTS

A budget for a temporary mural project must include line items for materials, insurance, site preparation, installation costs, equipment rental fee(s), and an artist fee (usually 10-15% of the overall budget).

Budget items could include:

Materials (paint, brushes, tarps, graffiti coating, etc.)

Insurance (auto liability, general liability, and workers’ compensation)

Installation costs (labor, city permits, equipment, traffic barriers, etc.)

Equipment Rental Fee(s) (scaffolding, scissor lift, truck, etc.)

Download a WAIVER FOR ARTWORK PLACED UPON PRIVATE PROPERTY. This form is required for all Commercial Business Mural Applications.

RESOURCES

Artist’s Guide to the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA)

The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) grants certain rights to artists. VARA was the first federal copyright legislation to grant protection to moral rights. Under VARA, works of art that meet certain requirements (including murals) afford their authors additional rights to the works, regardless of any subsequent physical ownership of the work itself, or regardless of who owns the copyright to the work. VARA also protects the artist from unauthorized secondary uses of the art such as the making of copies, t-shirts, postcards, posters, and other commercial goods.

California Art Preservation Act (CAPA)

The California Art Preservation Act is a 1979 California law that provides legal protection for artists’ moral rights. Portions of the law overlap with the provision in the Visual Artists Rights Act, in which case the California law is preempted. CAPA provides artists protection from destruction or mutilation of a work of fine art (including murals) and provides artists the right to claim authorship and disavow modifications to their original artwork.

Mural Creation Best Practices resource

American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works - Preservation’s Rescue Public Murals (RPM) initiative has confronted the risks that community murals face by being located in outdoor, public spaces. Murals have been, and are an increasingly, in the United States, large and small, have mural programs or are actively commissioning murals. While working to ensure the protection and preservation of existing murals, RPM recognizes that many common issues that murals face could have been mitigated with careful planning and preparation.

QUESTIONS

The City of West Hollywood is committed to assisting artists and interested business owners with the application requirements and process. If you have any questions, please contact Rebecca Ehemann, Public Art Coordinator, (323) 848-6846, rehemann@weho.org.