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Creator remains positive after Lansing Art Path mural vandalized

Posted at 6:32 PM, Sep 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-27 07:12:33-04

LANSING, Mich. — A public mural under the Cedar Bridge was vandalized this week and has since been cleaned up. It is now covered with a thick coat of grey paint. All that remains of the mural “Robin” is the top half part. But the organization that sponsors the Lansing River Trail art projects says they don’t want the incident to take away from the greater story.

“Aww man,” said artist Ozay Moore.

Both more and Dustin Hunt directed “Below the Stacks,” a citywide mural festival just this past weekend.

“It was a whole lot of planning envisioning, conversation, organizing, strategizing,” said Moore.

The two understand the work that goes into a mural and any kind of art. So when they saw the damage done to the mural called “Robin” under the Cedar Bridge, they empathized.

“The thing about public spaces is that it truly belongs to the public. It sucks when people deface good pieces of art but also it is the public’s voice,” said Moore.

“My initial response was just thinking about public space and maybe that symbolized a need for more public art space. Maybe we need more free spaces for people to paint. To test their hand out with the spray can,” added Hunt.

For the second summer, the City of Lansing and the Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center brought Art Path to the Lansing River Trail.

“We’ve heard so many wonderful stories about people who’ve engaged with the art. Whether they’re every day river trail or whether they come from out of county to visit the art installations,” said Barb Whitney, Executive Director of Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center.

It showcases 3.5 miles from Old Town to Reo Town in an attempt to beautify the city and fight against blight.

“We know that there’s a potential for damage and we try to mitigate that through lighting security, signage and of course deep community involvement and we know that many members of our community have been frustrated by the damage created by one person who maybe one of 62,000 who experienced the art this summer,” said Whitney.

“I wish they would've done it different because that was a beautiful piece on Art Path but I think the conversation is deeper than just defacing,” said Moore.

FOX 47 reached out to the artist who painted the mural. Hector Acuna says he was disappointed to hear that his mural was defaced but he's approaching it as a learning experience and hopes to make another mural soon.

Not long after the mural was defaced, local leaders and artists met to bring more art to the city.

It was part of the Art Council of Greater Lansing's fifth annual Creative Placemaking Summit at the Lansing center.

Executive Director of the council talked about one potential road block to bringing more art to the city and how to protect against vandalism.

"If the community rallies around these projects and they really support those people that are doing projects then we can stop those sort of things from happening and perhaps as people see more of these beautiful murals and sculptures and things then they have an emotional connection that they wanna protect it," Meghan Martin, executive director of Arts Council Greater Lansing said.

Mayor Andy Schor also weighed in on the vandalism.

In a statement he said he's disappointed but will continue to work with local groups and artists to have more public art throughout Lansing.

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