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Education is the best way to support public art.  Learning about the people, the process, and the purpose is what develops healthy appreciation and relationships with local artists. Schedule a group tour to learn about Los Angeles' Mural Mile from the 1970's to today.  Learn about individual murals, artists, and politics that have shaped this unique barrio in North Los Angeles and how this Valley barrio helps shape Los Angeles as a whole.

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Video via Ted Talks:

Video via Ted Talks:

A mural is any imagery or artwork placed directly to the surface of a wall, ceiling or other large permanent substrate. One of the main characteristics that separates murals from street art is the harmonious integration of art to the architecture of the building.  Murals today are painted using solvent-based or water-based media, and styles vary from abstract forms and planes to photorealism and troupe-l'oeil (a french term meaning "to trick the eye"). But initially, murals were created by combining either dry or wet plaster with pigments (pigments usually created by the artist with available raw materials).  They can be seen on the walls of Egyptian graves, in European cathedrals, and even on the walls of caves dating back 40,000 years. Some paintings seen on walls are painted on canvas and then adhered or secured to the wall, an outdoor wallpaper of sorts.  Whether or not these works of art can be called "murals" is a world-wide, ongoing debate in the arts, but the approach has been in use for centuries. 

Street Art is any art created in a public setting, usually unsolicited artwork produced in an alternative way to the common platforms.  Dance, music, spoken word, and magic are also common forms of street art.  The term first came to be during the rise of graffiti in the 1980's and continues to be used today.  Some common techniques include graffiti, aerosol, wheatpaste or stickers, sculpture, projection, installations, and even yarn.  Other terms commonly used for this approach are "urban art" and "neo-graffiti."  What can now be considered traditional graffiti is sometimes wrangled under these terms (murals are as well), though the subject is often debated by artists and critics alike.  Some street artists have gathered a large following, including media attention and promotion, and have evolved to produce commercial work for the mainstream culture using the style and techniques that made their work recognizable on the streets.

Vandalism is a destructive act with no artistic value, normally executed with aerosol paints (giving the medium a bad rep for decades), markers, and etchings. The vandalism or "tag" contains a personal or cult message: usually self, graffiti crew, or gang promotion. But the resulting imagery contains no value for the general community.  Leaving society to pay for the removal of an eye sore that stands out like a bleeding scab on the wall.  The worst of these tags destroy valuable graffiti, street art, or mural art.

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