02 July 2014

Preserving Public Murals...




The Athens scenescape has been changing with the ever quickening momentum of a snowball rolling down a hill.  Every single day something is being torn down or built up and the shadow of the huge industrial crane downtown moves over us in constant sweeps.  Now, this isn't a post to complain about progress although it can certainly be seen that way.  There's no stopping change...that's for sure.  There are, however, ways to help preserve certain things - buildings, art, ideas - for hopeful future generations.  And that includes outdoor public murals.

The mural pictured above was created a number of years ago by the now world renowned artist and Athens local David Hale.  As of last week?  Gone.  Painted over by the owner of the building after new tenants moved in.  This has become something of a hot button topic here in town (people are pisssssssed) but what I'm going to say is that for me the real issue is bringing awareness to the protection of art in this form.  Murals are a part of our culture and have been since we put our hands on cave walls and made stencils over 40000 years ago.

Of course there is going to be conflict about non-commissioned murals aka graffiti/street art.  But when we live in a world where Basquiat and Bansky and Saner and Stikman and Specter are seen as true artists (by most folks anyways) then there is the idea that saving art in a variety of forms is a damn fine idea.  It's my hope because hope was kept for me by those before me.

If you're interested in supporting an overarching conservation program then visit this organization.  It's a good place to start...

In Atlanta?  Check this out!

If you happen to pass by local street art then make sure to stop or slow your step and take it all in.  Without protection and/or interest, it might be gone overnight...

PS - images above were taken by me, myself and I.  Feel free to use but please give credit.  Thank you.

11 comments:

  1. That is such a good thing you got a picture of the mural. It's beautiful!!

    It's a lot of effort to do really clean spray paint art. That is NOT easy to control (at least for me it's not) and it's unfortunate that a lot of these paintings just get covered up or destroyed without the realization that a lot of hard work went into it to make a boring wall into something a little more interesting. Though in your photos it's definitely more interesting!!

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    1. Thanks Cassie! It was a landmark piece and now it's just a white wall. You can feel the emptiness of its absence... :(

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  2. I'm glad you wrote about this. My sister wrote her Master's degree thesis on the preservation of street art that has been deemed to be fine art. Right now most cities don't have official rules or processes, and it's especially tough to know how to proceed when a piece of beloved street art is on private property.

    I'm sorry that beautiful example was painted over.

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    1. That sounds like a very cool thesis! I'd love any suggestions that I could share if you happen to talk to her about the subject?

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  3. Oh no! David Hale is a phenomenal artist. That really sucks.

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    1. The shop owners are trying to commission him to do another one since the outcry has been pretty intense. His mural work is something to behold, isn't it?

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  4. Why why... Such amazing artwork. Poof! Gone. Surely there should have been some consultation with a local government body? Brings me to tears when I see this sort of thing happening.

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    1. I think that this will definitely create a lot more dialogue with the community, city and business owners. The business seemed surprised at the response from Athens folks! Many locals are trying to keep the historical integrity of the city from vanishing under the weight of many of the 'quick builds' and 'chain businesses' that move in without interest to the community plight/interests/desires...

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  5. That's a really fantastic mural. I'm sorry I never got to see it in person and glad you took a photo.

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  6. oh how sad! I think you commented recently on one of my instagram photos about Austin being almost unrecognizable these days too. It's heartbreaking really. I try to stay positive about the change and thinking about what good will come of it (better public transportation for one) BUT, it's so hard, especially when local cherished art is not kept.
    (all this does make me want to visit Athens though!)

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I'm always delighted to hear from folks! Every comment is much appreciated...