03/28/2012 06:48 pm ET

LA Freewalls Project: How To Make Downtown LA Beautiful Again (VIDEO)

Los Angeles was once known as the "mural capital of the world," and traces of it still remain in the LA Freewalls Project, an unsanctioned art initiative in which international muralists are invited to have their way with massive outdoor walls in Downtown LA. Incredibly, while the murals are painted with the permission of building owners, they are still technically illegal thanks to the city's mural moratorium, enacted in 2002.

The program is the brainchild of Daniel Lahoda at LALA Gallery, a polarizing figure in the city's street art scene. Depending on who you ask, (like the police [PDF]), Lahoda is either an untrustworthy art dealer or one of the greatest proponents for the reform of LA's mural ban.

In this video by Jason Wawro, Lahoda discusses the history of murals in LA, the Freewalls project and what the city could be doing to make Los Angeles' urban spaces beautiful again.

Artists like Shepard Fairey, JR and How and Nosm have taken part in Lahoda's Freewalls program.

h/t LA Taco