Artists cover graffiti with murals to inspire South Los Angeles community

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In an empty lot in a South Los Angeles neighborhood, artists are painting images of kids at play on walls once covered by graffiti. (KABC)

In an empty lot in a South Los Angeles neighborhood, artists have painted beautiful murals on walls once covered by graffiti.

The project, titled Smile South Central, has caught the attention of local business owners, artists and community members.

"For people to kind of have something they can be proud of in their neighborhood and something that kind of landmarks their neighborhood and gives it beauty," explained an artist who goes by the name of Moncho 1929.

Many of the artists contributing to the project usually create work shown in galleries, but they've donated their time to do something positive for the community.

"It creates beauty. It turns blight to bright. It's just so nice being here," said artist Jason Ostro. "The community and the neighbors and everybody else is just so thankful."

Local markets and other businesses have allowed the artists to paint murals on more than a dozen walls as part of the project. We found out about Smile South Central thanks to viewers who posted the art on social media using #ABC7Eyewitness.

Community resident Adam Ayala came up with the idea for the project and convinced local businesses and artists to get involved.

"These are tough neighborhoods. A lot of violence has happened and a lot deaths, but we get a lot of the gangsters who'll come out and they like what they see," he said.

Not only do the artists create these murals free of charge, but they also come up with works that they believe suit the community. Ayala and the artists said the result of the project has been just what they wanted - to inspire kids and bring smiles to people's faces.

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