TBD on Ning

A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children
depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school.

The project's leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after
complaints about the children's ethnicity. But the school's principal
says the request was only to fix shading and had nothing to do with
political pressure.

The "Go on Green" mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley
Elementary School, was designed to advertise a campaign for
environmentally friendly transportation. It features portraits of four
children, with a Hispanic boy as the dominant figure.

R.E. Wall, director of Prescott's Downtown Mural Project, said he and
other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on
the painting at one of the town's most prominent intersections.

"We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander
from their cars," Wall said. "We had children painting with us, and here
come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics)."

Wall said school Principal Jeff Lane pressed him to make the children's
faces appear happier and brighter.

"It is being lightened because of the controversy," Wall said, adding
that "they want it to look like the children are coming into light."

Lane said that he received only three complaints about the mural and
that his request for a touch-up had nothing to do with political
pressure. "We asked them to fix the shading on the children's faces," he
said. "We were looking at it from an artistic view. Nothing at all to
do with race."

City Councilman Steve Blair spearheaded a public campaign on his talk
show at Prescott radio station KYCA-AM (1490) to remove the mural.

In a broadcast last month, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott,
Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the
painting is African-American, saying: "To depict the biggest picture on
the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?"

Blair could not be reached for comment Thursday. In audio archives of
his radio show, Blair discusses the mural. He insists the controversy
isn't about racism but says the mural is intended to create racial
controversy where none existed before.

"Personally, I think it's pathetic," he says. "You have changed the
ambience of that building to excite some kind of diversity power
struggle that doesn't exist in Prescott, Arizona. And I'm ashamed of

Faces in the mural were drawn from photographs of children enrolled at
Miller Valley, a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix
of any school in Prescott. Wall said thousands of town residents
volunteered or donated to the project, the fourth in a series of
community murals painted by a group of artists known as the "Mural

The public art, funded by a $5,000 state grant through the Prescott
Alternative Transportation Center, was selected by school students and

"The parents and children love it," Lane said.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/06/04/20100604arizona-m...

Check out this video report.

Views: 24

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Please keep your refreshingly pragmatic, eminently sensible, observations to yourself. They have no place in a forum designed to elicit impassioned protests from the Terminally Offended.
Very sad. Nothing brightens my spirits more than a vision of happy children. I never realized that if you lighten the skin of a child he looks happier. If it wasn't so ridiculously sad it would be laughable.
Another great victory for politically correct and local standards as defined by them. I wonder if they'd like some tea?
I'll get to how poorly the newspaper article is written later...here we go...

If the shading, meaning the depiction of blocked or diffused light, is optically incorrect, anyone, artist or not, who looks at the mural will know that it "just doesn't look right". Bad shading can be fixed by any competent illustrator. It may very well be that Project Director Wall is lying, and Principal Lane is telling the truth, since you get what you pay for, and $5,000 is not a lot of money for a public mural.

Other reasons to doubt Wall's account are its timing and lack of corroboration. Let's see how this works: I'm in charge of a group of artists and children who are being publicly insulted for two months, and I never bring it to public attention, even to just ask for the cops to maybe make a few extra passes on patrol? I just keep painting? I never even bring it up until a school principal asks me to fix an artistic flaw? This strains belief.

Neither the other artists nor the children are reported as having witnessed the things Wall is claiming. If they did, then the reporter did a terrible job by omitting their observations from the story. If they didn't, it is likely that Wall is a lying scumbag who doesn't want to fix a poorly rendered mural at his own expense, so he accuses Lane of saying bad stuff.

Councilman Blair is another matter: he's just an idiot. Again, the poorly written newspaper article does not help with the chronology of this whole thing, but - unless Lane is lying about the nature of his request - the timing does not matter.

If the mural is poorly shaded, it should be fixed at Wall's expense. If Lane wants blissed-out grins on the little tykes' faces, they need to pay Wall and his crew more money for a changed specification. If Lane wants the kids in the mural to look whiter than a 1958 TV Guide cover, then shame on him.

The newspaper article is horrible as a piece of reporting. Wall reportedly claims that "thousands" of people gave time or money to the project. Then we are told that the project was "funded by a $5,000 state grant". Which is it? Sheesh!

Of course, no one reads stories about optical problems or loonies on the radio raving about conspiracies to subvert the white culture with school murals. No - to get readers you have to make it look like a school principal caved in to a nut on the radio.

If the principal denies it, why that's even better! After all, we know that an "artist" reduced to doing $5,000 murals on public buildings in Prescott, AZ would never lie to cover up the fact that he hasn't mastered the basics of illustration, right?

Whether the truth is finally - if ever - known about whether Lane or Wall is lying, one thing is for sure: Councilman Blair is acting like a paranoid fool who needs to be thrown out of public service forever.

Steve Blair, who also holds a seat on the Prescott City Council, was let go from his talk radio show after drawing fire for his opposition to an environmental mural painted on an elementary school.
It sounds like Blair got just what he deserved.
So Dallas, let me get this straight. This story can not possibly be true or, as you imply, "the truth cannot be known," owing in large part because you didn't like how the story was written, but because you knew some people at BP, they are beyond reproach and how dare the rest of us point out the company's inadequacies. Is that about it?

Certainly, the people yelling comments from their cars were simply misunderstood citizens expressing their right to freedom of speech in a state absolutely free from any racial or cultural animosity that could provide a context for evaluating this story. They were just concerned about the artistic rendering of light in the mural, conversant as they must be with artistic considerations given the language used. Then, of course, you can't possible trust "artists" if they tell you they have been harassed by passing motorists. Oil company executives are so much more trustworthy.

Do you even hear yourself?
As a photojournalist, I once took a picture of a black boy taking part in camp activities as part of a story. The picture was excellent, really beautiful. A front pager in small community newspapers. When I showed it to my editor, he said frankly, 'what do you think the chances this picture will ever be printed?' Why? The readership was white. So much for the truth setting you free.
Exactly. Thanks for sharing.
So much for diversity and tolerance. It's a shame.




© 2024   Created by Aggie.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service