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View Full Version : Education Altered mural fuels racial debate in Prescott (Arizona!)


Pitt Gorilla
06-05-2010, 10:32 PM
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/06/04/20100604arizona-mural-sparks-racial-debate.html

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 that."

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 Mice."

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

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

mlyonsd
06-05-2010, 10:39 PM
Let the people that live there sort it out.

Rain Man
06-05-2010, 10:44 PM
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?"


I'm not a fan of artificially overrepresenting different minority groups (e.g., every group has one Asian, one white, one Hispanic, one African American, one Indian, one Malagasy, one Aleut, one Samoan, and one aborigine), but if there are black kids in the school district I would find that statement pretty offensive, and respond with, "Why not?"

googlegoogle
06-05-2010, 10:50 PM
$5000 for public art.

BucEyedPea
06-06-2010, 12:13 PM
Yeah, and just look at that prominent child. He looks like an adult.
This is just more left-wing enforced political correctness by playing the race card.
Do-gooders=fascism with a smile. And a Republican progressive posts it too.

cdcox
06-06-2010, 12:34 PM
Yeah, and just look at that prominent child. He looks like an adult.
This is just more left-wing enforced political correctness by playing the race card.
Do-gooders=fascism with a smile. And a Republican progressive posts it too.

Wut?

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

If you are looking for facism in this story, I think you'd best find it in the pressure from the government official to change the mural selected by the people.

orange
06-06-2010, 12:37 PM
Update:
Jeff Lane, the principal of Miller Valley Elementary School, and Kevin Kapp, the school superintendent have apologized for accepting the racists’ ways of seeing things and have revealed that painting will be restored to its original theme which was by the way: DIVERSITY.

http://www.newsopi.com/us/arizona-elementary-school-mural-controversyprescott-arizona-mural-race-drama/2280/

BucEyedPea
06-06-2010, 12:41 PM
Wut?

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

If you are looking for facism in this story, I think you'd best find it in the pressure from the government official to change the mural selected by the people.

I am looking at the enforced thought of political correctness by using the race card—not matter who does it.

Hydrae
06-06-2010, 12:46 PM
Update:
Jeff Lane, the principal of Miller Valley Elementary School, and Kevin Kapp, the school superintendent have apologized for accepting the racistsí ways of seeing things and have revealed that painting will be restored to its original theme which was by the way: DIVERSITY.

http://www.newsopi.com/us/arizona-elementary-school-mural-controversyprescott-arizona-mural-race-drama/2280/

The "Go on Green" mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley Elementary School, was designed to advertise a campaign for environmentally friendly transportation.

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

Is it supposed to be about diversity or about enviromentally friendly transportation?

Hydrae
06-06-2010, 12:46 PM
I'm not a fan of artificially overrepresenting different minority groups (e.g., every group has one Asian, one white, one Hispanic, one African American, one Indian, one Malagasy, one Aleut, one Samoan, and one aborigine), but if there are black kids in the school district I would find that statement pretty offensive, and respond with, "Why not?"

This was my reaction to this when I read it as well.

orange
06-06-2010, 12:49 PM
Steve Blair fired by Prescott radio station for racist remarks about school mural
By karoli Saturday Jun 05, 2010 2:00pm

If only it were this easy for FOX News to fire Glenn Beck. Still, I'll take progress wherever I can get it.

Arizona FOX affiliate KYCA fired Steve Blair today over the mural controversy painted on a wall at Miller Valley School. Actually, he wasn't fired over the controversy. He was fired for creating the controversy.

When asked about what his objections were to the mural, he replied:

"Number one, it was defacing a public building of a historic nature on one of the most heavily traveled roadways in Prescott, Arizona without any edification of what the mural was supposed to be, what it stood for, and it's a piece of public art that I don't support. Not there. Somewhere else, maybe yes, but not there.

And based upon the fact that nobody bothered to let the community know what that mural was supposed to depict made it very difficult to buy in on -- um -- what the mission statement of that mural was supposed to be. Plus it was too big, too in-your-face, wrong place, wrong time."

Defacing? Really? That particular verb, especially when taken in concert with what he says about the school mural project in general, really exposes him clearly.

It's difficult to transcribe everything he said, but at some point he listed the other three murals that, with the school mural, make up the Prescott Mural Project as being perfectly acceptable. The site is down under heavy traffic right now, but if it comes back up, you can see all the murals at http://www.prescottmurals.com/. The Miller School project was the last of four.

During the conversation about his confusion on what the Miller school mural is supposed to represent, he said:

"[It] looks like a guy black guy brown guy holding a stick and a big flowers and stuff, what was it supposed to mean? I don't know what it's supposed to mean, I really don't. If it means going green, what does that mean?

Not everything is okay, and not everything should be looked at as "I have to be politically correct...If I don't like public art like the mural, I have the right to say I don't like it...The hard part is where do people draw the line of standing up to what's right or wrong."

"I want somebody to tell me why I should like that. I like that one at the library. I like the one on the parking garage..."

The mural at the library depicts Prescott history from ancient times through modern. The one at the parking garage is entitled "Art for All". You can see some of it here.

Not content to leave it there, Blair continues his rant:

"Should we be able to paint Kumbaya on the side of the Elks theater now instead of renovating it? Put kids and jackals on the side of that building? Should we just unilaterally deface that building without talking to the guys that own it?"

"Why because I don't like it am I being painted as a racist?"

(For reference, the Elks Theater renovation project is another downtown project to restore a historical theater to its halcyon days. )

When asked if he would take back his comments regarding the mural he replied with a flat "No."

He sums it up this way:

Why are we allowing people to deface historic buildings with murals?

That's twice now with the word "deface". While he doesn't seem to have any problem with "defacing" any other building or wall in Prescott, this one alone gives him heartburn. The one with "the black guy brown guy, sticks and flowers."

Prescott started this project in 2001 as part of an overall downtown renovation effort. The murals are funded with money granted by the Prescott Alternative Transportation Center. The mural at the school was selected by the students and faculty and features student's faces in the artwork.

All reactions to art come from the heart. Steve Blair shows his heart as clearly as the children of that school do. I'll answer Blair's question about racism this way: When it's the color of the people on the historic building that you object to, when the message of the mural is as clear and consistent as those who paid to have it painted, you're kidding yourself if you think this is about "defacing public property."

I love our Los Angeles murals. They were painted for the 1984 Olympics and brighten the smoggy landscape of concrete and glass in the city. These murals are a wonderful way to brighten and renovate an aging downtown area. Prescott citizens should question whether this city councilman has their interests or his prejudices at heart.

Update: From a comment by azmtdog:

The Principal of the school and the Superintendent of Prescott Unified School District admitted "We made a mistake". The mural will not be 'lightened'. Some things work out.

Good job, parents, teachers, Principal and Superintendent. That's a big win.

http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/steve-blair-fired-prescott-radio-station-ra

http://cdn.crooksandliars.com/files/uploads/2010/06/themural_19ec9.jpg

orange
06-06-2010, 01:47 PM
(Arizona!)



http://img.wonkette.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/giant_cactus.jpg


I just had to share this

BucEyedPea
06-06-2010, 02:37 PM
Diversity is destroying this country by Balkanizing it.
It should be a melting pot with the "melting" part kept in because that's when a person becomes just an American.

Saul Good
06-06-2010, 06:48 PM
Steve Blair fired by Prescott radio station for racist remarks about school mural
By karoli Saturday Jun 05, 2010 2:00pm

If only it were this easy for FOX News to fire Glenn Beck. Still, I'll take progress wherever I can get it.

Arizona FOX affiliate KYCA fired Steve Blair today over the mural controversy painted on a wall at Miller Valley School. Actually, he wasn't fired over the controversy. He was fired for creating the controversy.

When asked about what his objections were to the mural, he replied:

"Number one, it was defacing a public building of a historic nature on one of the most heavily traveled roadways in Prescott, Arizona without any edification of what the mural was supposed to be, what it stood for, and it's a piece of public art that I don't support. Not there. Somewhere else, maybe yes, but not there.

And based upon the fact that nobody bothered to let the community know what that mural was supposed to depict made it very difficult to buy in on -- um -- what the mission statement of that mural was supposed to be. Plus it was too big, too in-your-face, wrong place, wrong time."

Defacing? Really? That particular verb, especially when taken in concert with what he says about the school mural project in general, really exposes him clearly.

It's difficult to transcribe everything he said, but at some point he listed the other three murals that, with the school mural, make up the Prescott Mural Project as being perfectly acceptable. The site is down under heavy traffic right now, but if it comes back up, you can see all the murals at http://www.prescottmurals.com/. The Miller School project was the last of four.

During the conversation about his confusion on what the Miller school mural is supposed to represent, he said:

"[It] looks like a guy black guy brown guy holding a stick and a big flowers and stuff, what was it supposed to mean? I don't know what it's supposed to mean, I really don't. If it means going green, what does that mean?

Not everything is okay, and not everything should be looked at as "I have to be politically correct...If I don't like public art like the mural, I have the right to say I don't like it...The hard part is where do people draw the line of standing up to what's right or wrong."

"I want somebody to tell me why I should like that. I like that one at the library. I like the one on the parking garage..."

The mural at the library depicts Prescott history from ancient times through modern. The one at the parking garage is entitled "Art for All". You can see some of it here.

Not content to leave it there, Blair continues his rant:

"Should we be able to paint Kumbaya on the side of the Elks theater now instead of renovating it? Put kids and jackals on the side of that building? Should we just unilaterally deface that building without talking to the guys that own it?"

"Why because I don't like it am I being painted as a racist?"

(For reference, the Elks Theater renovation project is another downtown project to restore a historical theater to its halcyon days. )

When asked if he would take back his comments regarding the mural he replied with a flat "No."

He sums it up this way:

Why are we allowing people to deface historic buildings with murals?

That's twice now with the word "deface". While he doesn't seem to have any problem with "defacing" any other building or wall in Prescott, this one alone gives him heartburn. The one with "the black guy brown guy, sticks and flowers."

Prescott started this project in 2001 as part of an overall downtown renovation effort. The murals are funded with money granted by the Prescott Alternative Transportation Center. The mural at the school was selected by the students and faculty and features student's faces in the artwork.

All reactions to art come from the heart. Steve Blair shows his heart as clearly as the children of that school do. I'll answer Blair's question about racism this way: When it's the color of the people on the historic building that you object to, when the message of the mural is as clear and consistent as those who paid to have it painted, you're kidding yourself if you think this is about "defacing public property."

I love our Los Angeles murals. They were painted for the 1984 Olympics and brighten the smoggy landscape of concrete and glass in the city. These murals are a wonderful way to brighten and renovate an aging downtown area. Prescott citizens should question whether this city councilman has their interests or his prejudices at heart.

Update: From a comment by azmtdog:

The Principal of the school and the Superintendent of Prescott Unified School District admitted "We made a mistake". The mural will not be 'lightened'. Some things work out.

Good job, parents, teachers, Principal and Superintendent. That's a big win.

http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/steve-blair-fired-prescott-radio-station-ra

http://cdn.crooksandliars.com/files/uploads/2010/06/themural_19ec9.jpg


I don't really get why this is a story. I don't have any problem with the mural. It looks nice, and I'll take it over a brick wall any day. The guy's comments were more cretinous babbling to me than offensive. I don't see why he should lose his job over it.

For the record, my threshold for what constitutes someone losing his/her livelihood is pretty high for conservatives and liberals alike.

All that said, there is a point somewhere in there. Is this mural supposed to be about diversity or about alternative methods of transportation? I don't really care about the answer, but he's kind of got a point.

ClevelandBronco
06-06-2010, 07:36 PM
"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)."

I don't believe him.

BigChiefFan
06-07-2010, 08:29 AM
Sounds like another bullshit race card being played. Read it AGAIN...

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."

stevieray
06-07-2010, 08:33 AM
I don't believe him.

I don't either. As someone who has done numerous outdoor murals, if and when people do shout something out, it's a compliment.

BucEyedPea
06-07-2010, 09:05 AM
I don't either. As someone who has done numerous outdoor murals, if and when people do shout something out, it's a compliment.

I had wondered about it myself. If anyone did it was probably just one person. Kinda like how the left has been representin' Tea Partiers.