A social media campaign spurred by the band Foster the People has saved a downtown Los Angeles mural commissioned by the group that had been ordered to be painted over by the city.
The mural, which was originally painted in January, features the same colorful, surrealist artwork that adorns the cover of the band’s recently released album "Supermodel."
The process of painting the massive mural, located at 539 S. Los Angeles St., was illustrated through a time-lapse music video for the band’s song "Coming of Age."
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The connections to the album were the main source of contention. Since the city does not allow murals that are advertisements, the work was ordered to be painted over.
"I would say that it would be advertising if it was like, "buy album now! Out now," fan Lucase Connor said. "But it really, it's just the album cover."
Officials said, contrary to the band's claims, the permits were not revoked. Instead, the artist never obtained the proper permits.
Fans took to the web after the announcement of the order, bombarding Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Instagram account with comments, and starting an online petition to save the mural that garnered more than 12,000 signatures.
"It literally kind of blew up. It started a fire that burned a lot quicker than any of us expected," Foster the People band member Cubbie Fink said.
On Sunday, the band posted on Twitter that they received word that the mayor had intervened and saved the mural from being painted over.
The band tweeted: "To be clear, @EricGarcetti wasn't behind covering the mural to begin with. He's the reason it's staying up. We tip our hats to you good sir."
Mayor Garcetti reached out to building's owner and mediated a cooling off period that kept the mural up. However, the mural's fate is still in limbo until it is brought into compliance with city ordinance and the permits are obtained.
An event had been planned for people to "talk about art, music and community" while the mural was being painted over. What had previously been a somber occasion became a celebration, with the band inviting Angelenos to come Monday afternoon to the mural to have their comments about the issue filmed and get a free poster.
"This is kind of our expression of love for the city, trying to beautify downtown," Fink said. "The fact that we thought we may lose it, was a bit devastating."
At the celebration fans talked about how the power of social media was able to mobilize the campaign to save the mural.
"It says a lot about what people can do if they voice their concerns," said Jessica Gray. "It's a powerful thing and I'm proud to see so many people got involved with it."
Samia Khan contributed to this report.