First of the murals ready for its closeup

Mural installation of "Tony Curtis" by George Sportelli

Here’s a shot from this morning, as a Caltrans worker unveils a graffiti-resistant mural of George Sportelli’s “Tony Curtis” on the wall of the 101 Freeway in downtown L.A.

“The murals have cultural meaning and we want to replace them since they are part of the heritage of the city of Los Angeles,” said Caltrans District 7 Director Mike Miles at the morning press conference. He acknowledged that two of the murals that were to have been unveiled, replicas of “I know Who I Am” by Rubén Soto and “Going to the Olympics” by Frank Romero, were stolen over the weekend.

As we posted on Thursday, Caltrans and Metro teamed up to replace the old graffiti-ruined paint-on-concrete-wall artworks with new fabric versions of the murals, which can be quickly removed for graffiti cleaning and repairs. The restoration has been mostly funded by a grant from Wells Fargo Bank.