LINCOLN HEIGHTS-– Kris and Mike Kolker have amassed a large collection of murals and large artwork created by street artists as part of their musical writing business. Now, the couple are proposing to use that collection and their Lincoln Heights studio as the foundation for Los Angeles’ first mural museum. But if their idea is to become a reality, the couple needs to overcome some major hurdles, which include convincing the city to buy the building and finding and raising the funds to open and operate the museum.
The couple’s idea has already won the backing of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council’s planning committee, with the full council scheduled to vote on the proposal at this week’s meeting. City officials have already met at their Main Street studio, where large murals cover the exterior of box-like building, to discuss the concept. The city, which owns a large vacant lot next door, has already indicated an interest in purchasing the building, which is up for sale, but it’s not clear what the city would do with the property.
Turning the building and adjacent lot into a mural museum would create the opportunity for indoor and outdoor exhibit space featuring a mural garden, live painting events and other programs, according to the Kolkers’s proposal, which is described in a 11-page outline.
“It would also be the first major mural museum in the country,” said Mike Kolker. “It would feature, among others, art by some of the top graffiti and Mexican-American artists, two groups that are under-represented in the country’s museums.”
But the proposal for a Mural Museum and a Mural District of newly commissioned public artwork still faces many obstacles. Councilman Gil Cedillo, for example, has yet to take a position on the proposal. Kolker also concedes that neither he nor his wife have experience in running a museum, which is why they propose bringing in an existing museum or some other organization to operate the mural museum.
“We don’t run museums — that’s not our business,”said Kolker. “We write crazy musicals.”
If the proposal for a Lincoln Heights mural museum fails, Kolker said he would take the idea to neighboring Boyle Heights or East Los Angeles in search of support and a venue.
A mural museum, he said, “should be on the Eastside of L.A.”