Lebo's Hollywood Mural Called "Ghetto" by City Officials

Categories: Arts

The mural completed by Lebo (a.k.a. David Le Batard) for the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project
Nearly a year after its completion, the Downtown Hollywood mural of renowned local street artist Lebo (a.k.a. David Le Batard), entitled "Bee-Bop Into Outer Space," is the subject of some controversy after officials at the latest city commission meeting on May 1, expressed their dislike for the jazz-inspired artwork.

"We don't want artsy, edgy graffiti-type murals," Terry Cantrell, president of the nearby Hollywood Lakes Association, told the Miami Herald on Monday.

"Are we Wynwood now?'' said Commissioner Patricia Asseff, referencing the thriving urban arts district in Miami.

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According to Jill Weisberg, curator and project manager of the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project, who was also in attendance at the May 1 meeting, the majority of the city commission are actually very happy with the project.

"The conversation was prompted by the Knight Foundation grant we applied for," Weisberg says. "Once it was brought up, there were really only two people who were upset. They were basically saying, 'We didn't get what we paid for.'"

Lebo, whose works have been commissioned by the likes of Ferrari, Harley-Davidson, and Norwegian Cruise Line for upwards of $20,000, agreed to do the mural in Hollywood for $1,000, supplying the paint, labor, and talent himself. The artist, who is also the brother of Miami Herald sports columnist and ESPN commentator Dan Le Batard, grew up in Hollywood and wanted to do something nice for his hometown.

Apart with some dissatisfaction over the aesthetic quality of the spray-painted mural, which Asseff alluded to being "ghetto," Weisberg believes the main controversy over Lebo's wall is that the finished painting was significantly changed from the original rendering approved by the city. While the original submission comprised of only three colors, clean lines, and a '50s-style aesthetic, Lebo's final work featured multiple colors, owl and jazz musician characters, and a graffiti style the officials say is "inappropriate" for the prominent downtown area.

Weisberg says the issue has been fully resolved, citing an agreement that would require artists to stick more closely to renderings approved by the city, with a small amount of artistic license to make changes.

While the mural in question will be replaced, as originally scheduled, this coming August, Weisberg also expressed disappointment and surprise that Lebo's work -- the first commissioned by the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project -- is receiving all the attention when seven additional murals have been added to the project over the last year. "The new Mona Lisa mural is the bomb!" says Weisberg. "Lebo's mural is great -- I'd love for all my artists to get that attention."

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It's interesting that they want "edgier" bands on Saturday nights in ArtsPark to attract the younger crowds, but 2 Commissioners think having street art like the successful Wynwood District is somehow a problem.

ralphpetrucci topcommenter

Guess what it is VERY ghetto -- would look good in the trendy on the edge of ghetto Design District in Miami but Hollywood is really trying to be a nicer classier place (please - lets not even pretend that what goes down in the Design District is classy).

He lied - painted something fug ugly - and all the hipster are aghast. Boo hoo. It gets painted over in the fall.

John Pearson
John Pearson

Very S. Florida, I like it but then I'm not a narrow minded old stuff white person. I'm white and opened minded.

lonianderson1979 topcommenter

While I don't think the new mural is terrible, I do agree that it looks nothing like what he said he would paint. Apparently he didn't even use the same kind of paint. 


Misappropriation of funds and artists not sticking to original renderings is grounds for Jill C. Weisberg to be removed as curator. This city does not need anymore "Bombs".

David Carhart
David Carhart

I don't like it, but that is just my opinion.

Michael Aaron Hoffman
Michael Aaron Hoffman

shows lack of vision on the part of leadership. the old guard needs to fall.


Why make such a naïve comment? My family loves Downtown Hollywood, but we will also take the trek to spend time and absorb culture in Wynwood.

Don’t you wish people who lived near Wynwood said the same thing about Downtown Hollywood?

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