Black Art Matters: Does Federal Law Protect and Preserve Protest Street Art?

According to The New York Times, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests may have been the largest movement in U.S. history—and the most vigilant of these protests remain on the walls, corners, and surfaces of streets that we walk by every day. In cities across the country, artists banded together to use their creativity as a powerful visual advocacy against racial injustice. Unfortunately, these murals are short-lived, either because they are immediately tagged or destroyed by dissenters who blithely deny America’s problem of racism. Artists who had transformed boarded-up businesses into powerful BLM art witnessed their art getting thrown out by storeowners. Such defacement of protest art is unfortunately a recurring violation. Now, here’s the good news: the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (“VARA Law”) may be the key to protecting and preserving these artworks. Here are eight important issues about VARA Law for artists.

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