Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building
The legal dispute over the ownership of two interior murals depicting the contributions of African Americans to the history of California has been settled, giving ownership to current building owner Community Impact Development.
Community Impact Development purchased the building after the closing of Golden State Mutual in 2009. Community Impact Development was then informed that the two murals inside the building would be removed and sold to settle debts of the former Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company. The recent settlement will allow Community Impact Development to retain possession of the site-specific murals that have been located in the lobby since the opening of the building in 1949.
The Conservancy worked with the building's new owners, as well as West Adams Heritage Association and other community advocates, to ensure that this architecturally and culturally significant building and its integrated murals remain intact as a cultural asset to the community.
The building was designated as a City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 2011, offering it a strong level of protection.
After the business closed in 2009, Golden State Mutual’s remaining assets began to be prepared for sale by the State's Conservation and Liquidation Office, leaving the building and its future very much in question.
The building has been purchased by Community Impact Development, a nonprofit social services group from South Los Angeles that supports the HCM nomination. Yet the interior murals have become the subject of a highly publicized legal dispute. The two murals are proposed to be sold and removed from the building.
Until recently, the Smithsonian Institution was in the running to purchase the murals and reinstall them at a new museum of African American heritage and art being planned for the national mall in Washington, D.C. The Smithsonian withdrew its bid, citing community opposition over the murals’ removal from the building and Los Angeles.
Community Impact Development contends that the murals are an integral part of the building it purchased. The Conservancy supports the company’s legal efforts to prevent the sale of the murals.