L.A. Street Art—Now Powered by Google

The tech giant doubled its database of murals from around the world, then threw a party in the Arts District to celebrate
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Last June Google debuted their Street Art Project, an online collection of street art from around the world. It was a sweet deal for swivel-chair-ridden street art enthusiasts, and as of yesterday, it’s twice as sweet. The collection has been doubled, and now includes 10,000 high-resolution photographs of street art, a considerable number of which are from around Los Angeles (including, but not limited to, this painting of Frida Kahlo’s head on a deer’s body). It’s basically just like our growing catalogue of street art only, well, far more comprehensive.

In addition to upping the amount of content available through the main Art Project site, the expansion brings us a streamlined new Web site, streetart.withgoogle.com, to make exploring Google’s street art collection even easier. One of the site’s most appealing features is a navigable map of the world featuring locations of murals, which are marked by red circles. Click the circles for up-close images and information about the artist. Four hundred and fifty-five circles denote L.A. artworks.

To celebrate, a private launch party was held in the L.A. Arts District last night featuring local street artists—including David Leavitt and David Torres, a.k.a. Cyrcle. The duo instagrammed their excitement for the unveiling of the project with a couple mysterious photos, paired with the ominous hashtag, #theartofsin.

New project with the Google Cultural Arts Institute unveils tonight! #theartofsin #google #cyrcle

A photo posted by cyrcle (@cyrcle) on

On a dorkier note (okay, it’s actually kinda cool), Google showed off their wearable Street View Trekker technology.

Isabel Rojas-Williams, Executive Director of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles, attended the event as well. She says the Conservancy is one of 55 organizations from 34 countries that partnered with Google to make the project a success. “We provided 200-and-some items—high resolution images of murals—and we created three of the 260 virtual exhibits from the 34 countries,” she says. Among the works in those exhibits: the 2013 mural Runboy by Cyrcle on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Rojas-Williams, who fought successfully to have the city’s 2002 mural ban overturned in 2013, noted that the Google project lends permanence to a transient genre, one that’s now thriving again in Los Angeles. “It would be impossible for us to restore or to preserve the history of the murals of L.A. because it’s a huge task,” she says. “We do the best we can. However, in this way, the culture of murals in L.A. can be preserved for generations to come.”

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