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Movement To 'Beautify' Dilapidated Buildings Comes To Crenshaw

LOS ANGELES ( — An art project aimed at revitalizing neglected buildings through colorful murals has made its way to the Crenshaw District.

KNX 1070's Margaret Carrero reports artist Lucy Mesa is taking blighted structures and transforming them into canvasses under the Beautify L.A. project.

Movement To 'Beautify' Dilapidated Buildings Comes To Crenshaw

Conceived and originally funded by Executive Director Evan Meyer, the Beautify initiative started on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica and soon spread to nearby Abbott Kinney in Venice and to cities as far as Brooklyn and Detroit.

The project utilizes local artists to bring to life blighted walls, fixtures and streets, which organizers say will ultimately attract new businesses and improve the likelihood of community investment.

A statement on its Twitter page says Beautify Earth is "on a quest to transform 1 Million Walls over the next 5 years".

The purpose, said Mesa, is for "turning everything that's ugly into something beautiful, and actually creating community while we do it."

Her latest project at an auto body shop on Slauson Avenue west of Crenshaw Boulevard has made a Beautify believer out of at least one local business owner.

"It's really beautiful...the prettiest building on Slauson," said auto body shop owner Chris.

The murals may also boost the economic prospects of its canvasses and surrounding neighborhoods: participating businesses have seen increasing revenue up to 50 percent, according to Mesa.

She hopes the community - and graffiti artists - will receive the message of the murals.

"A hundred percent of my projects that are in this neighborhood have never again been tagged," Mesa said. "I just think that it sends out a message that we care about our community."

In order for grassroots initiatives such as these to be able to go through with their work, they require funding, supplies and outreach.

That's where kick-starters for community involvement and volunteerism, such as thrdPlace step in.

"People don't feel like they can do it, or they feel like the job is too big, or they don't know enough people or they don't know the brands that are around them to get the support," thrdPlace founder and CEO Michael Colosimo said. "So a lot of what we do is help elevate those voices."

The company thrdPlace was launched in 2013, and brings big companies together with small organizations to help improve their communities.

"Creating more vibrant communities, creating more collaborative communities that better reflect the needs of their citizens is what this is all about," Colosimo said.

Click here for info on how you can contribute to the Beautify movement.

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