Foster the People mural in downtown L.A. saved, for now

A huge mural on the wall of the Santa Fe Building at 539 S. Los Angeles St. in downtown L.A. has been saved, at least for now.
A huge mural on the wall of the Santa Fe Building at 539 S. Los Angeles St. in downtown L.A. has been saved, at least for now.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Indie pop band Foster the People’s downtown Los Angeles mural, which was set to be whitewashed Monday morning, has been saved, at least temporarily.

The mural was supposed to be removed after the band’s permission for the public artwork was revoked by city officials, the band said.

A fan created a petition on in an attempt to save the 125-by-150-foot painting, which is on the wall of the building at 539 S. Los Angeles St. By Sunday night, the petition had received about 12,000 signatures.

“We just received a call from the mayor’s office. @EricGarcetti saw your petition and decided against repainting the wall. The Mural Stays!” the band tweeted Sunday night.


Garcetti’s office’s call actually was to building representitive Debbie Welsch, asking to postpone the mural’s removal. Mark Foster was on a plane to Burma at the time, but his manager, Brett Williams, contacted him with the news. The band then tweeted and Facebooked the news far and wide.

“Thank You Eric Garcetti for listening and intervening on such short notice,” the band wrote on its Facebook page Sunday night. “Most of all, Thank You to all of you who signed the petition and helped spread the word! You surprised everyone and saved this mural.”

Garcetti’s press office clarified on Monday afternoon: “The decision to remove the mural was not made by the city. Our office just became involved over the weekend, and to cool things off, had a discussion with the property owner, who agreed to not paint over the mural today as had been planned. We thank them for their patience and understanding.”

The mural was designed by Dutch artist Young & Sick, who lives in L.A.; artists Vyal and Leba spray-painted it onto the wall in January. The artwork appears on the cover of the band’s latest album, “Supermodel,” which came out in March. The band held a free Jan. 23. concert in front of the mural.

One of the issues the city had with the mural was that it looked like a commercial sign, a promotion of the album. The band said the mural shows no logos or even the band’s name, and that the artwork was created first, then chosen for the album -- not the other way around.

Welsch hasn’t yet responded to a Times’ call. The ultimate fate of the mural remains unclear.

To celebrate the news, some members of Foster the People will be at the mural Monday handing out posters and greeting fans.

Twitter: @debvankin