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"Mural Mile" Unfurls Along Van Nuys Boulevard

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Mural Mile is blossoming on a stretch of Van Nuys Boulevard, thanks in large part to Levi Ponce, an animator and artist whose painted more than a dozen works on the sides of local businesses. He's been the informal leader of a crew of young artists beautifying the boulevard, and he's got a knack for finding walls to paint. Is it a bureaucratic nightmare of permits and approvals and design review and neighborhood council sign off? Heck no, he just asks. As KCET explains, "he scouts walls in the neighborhood, then knocks on the doors of local businesses with a unique proposition: let us paint your walls with what we want and you get a beautiful work of art for free. It is an irresistible proposal that also favors the abundance of young, creative talent in the Valley. 'I get walls,' says Ponce. 'Now, I'm trying to enable people to get walls.'" Meanwhile, the city is working on a much more complicated plan--right now murals are considered advertising, and the formal process for putting them up is a total nightmare (it's just about impossible). A long-delayed ordinance would make it easier for murals.