Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a plan Wednesday to spend $1.7 million on arts projects throughout the city, and adopted guidelines designed to free up millions of dollars sitting unused in a special arts fund.

Developers who want to build in Los Angeles put money in an Arts Development Fee Trust Fund, but the money has been frozen since the city attorney determined in 2007 that it could only be used within a block of the developments. Today’s council action allows the money to be used on projects beyond a one-block radius.

About $10 million is in the trust fund, but some of it may need to be returned because the deadline for using it has passed, city officials said.

The council today approved the use of about $1.7 million that was due to expire Dec. 31. It will be used for projects including mural restoration, public art in Little Armenia commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and art installations along Central Avenue in South Los Angeles, where an annual jazz festival is held.

“I’m thrilled to be able to provide the city with a way forward,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said. “If we claim to be a world-class city, we also need a world-class arts presence.”

Cultural Affairs Department General Manager Danielle Brazell said with the funding made available through the council’s action, there will be an “increased activation of arts throughout the city.”

Councilman Jose Huizar said the city “is the creative capital of the world — home to a diverse, dynamic and incredibly talented artistic community.”

An arts project in his district will receive $131,768 for the restoration of up to 10 murals.

“Along with our mural ordinance, and additional mural-related funds that we recently approved, this adjustment to the arts development free will not only free up millions of dollars, it will free up our artistic community to share their incredible talents and beautify our communities,” he said. “This is a great day for art in the city of Los Angeles.”

City News Service

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