Texas Hill Country News

Austinites Upset to See Mural Whited Out Without Warning

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The area at 12th and Chicon in Austin has seen big changes in the past few years due to gentrification. Last week, a recognizable mural depicting black musicians like Tupac Shakur, James Brown, Michael Jackson and Austin legend Stevie Ray Vaughan was suddenly painted over. KUT reports that another mural in the area called “Mamas of Color Rising” was also painted over, and locals were upset to see the abrupt changes.

Residents and artists who loved the mural are concerned that whiting out the wall was a shortsighted decision that didn’t involve the community. Veronica Ortuño, who is relocating her business to the building, said, “I knew that it was going to be a tricky situation. I didn’t know how intense it was going to be…We do want to stay within the context of keeping it vibrant with African-American artists or, I guess, more of a community vibe – diversifying and being inclusive.” Her husband, Ben Ellis, said, “Honestly, I don’t think it was the best mural it could possibly be.” He adds that the original muralist was not an Austinite, and they will choose a local artist to create a new piece.

KVUE spoke with the artist, Chris Rogers, who does live in town. He said he painted the mural for free three years ago and was “just really disappointed” to hear that his work had been painted over. He says he would be happy to update it and work with the new owners if they are interested in working with him.