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It took artist Katherine Craig about a year to create her nine-story mural on 2937 E. Grand Blvd. in Detroit. Most people who drive around the city have seen it — one side of the Albert Kahn-designed building is covered in a blanket of electric blue, and a flowing waterfall of multicolored paint splatters descend from the roof line. It stands in stark contrast to the rest of the landscape of low buildings and muted Midwestern colors.
It’s called “The Illuminated Mural” and it’s become emblematic of Detroit’s North End neighborhood.
This week, it was also on the auction block.
Well, the building is. But what does that mean for Craig’s mural? What rights does a muralist have to the wall she painted on?
That’s a question that echoes throughout the country right now, as muralists try to lay claim to their artwork under the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990.
California muralist Kent Twitchell was in a hotel room in Sausalito, Calif., when he got the call — his six-story mural of Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles had been painted over. It was June 2, 2006, a date he remembers vividly because it was the day he lost his mural, and also the day of his daughter’s wedding. […]