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Friday, September 14, 2012

UPDATE: Hyuro mural vandalized, will have to be painted over

UPDATE UPDATE: Hyuro's mural was tagged this week and now will definitely have to be painted over. It's an unfortunate end to the whole thing.

SEPT. 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM:

On Monday night, members of the Chosewood Park neighborhood association convened for their monthly meeting outside at the community tennis courts. On the agenda for September: Hyuro's mural for Living Walls at the corner of Sawtell Avenue and McDonough Boulevard. The mural, which depicts a woman in various states of undress, has been a hot topic in the neighborhood and the media the last few weeks.

Neighborhood association President Charlie Nelson walked through the official business of approval of minutes, committee reports and old business before getting to the reason why at least three different news stations had cameras set up. As he explained the rules of the forum (two minutes per speaker, you have to have a numbered paddle to speak), he expressed how proud he was of the neighborhood and the "level of discourse and the amount of respect people had about this." He also noted that he'd "developed relationships down around the mural that frankly wouldn't have happened without the installation."

Over the next 45 minutes a dozen or so residents took advantage of their two minutes to express their thoughts, concerns, confusion and reactions about the mural. Living Walls Co-founder and Executive Director Mónica Campana was in attendance and made herself available to answer questions. And there were a lot of them, mostly concerning Living Walls' processes.

Overall, the residents were overwhelmingly appreciative and in support of the idea of the art, but ultimately disagreed with its placement in public on a highly trafficked corner. The discussion remained civil, although it did become a bit tense at times, particularly when a few neighbors explained they felt taken advantage of or when the imam of the local mosque presented a passioned argument that dropped references to a Supreme Court freedom of speech case and referred to the work as "pornographic."

After the sun had gone down, voting members of the association (you have to have attended at least three meetings in the last 12 months to vote) gathered to vote on a motion to leave the mural as is. The motion did not pass. Another motion was made to have the mural removed or replaced, which did pass. Now, this doesn't mean that the mural will automatically come down. As I've explained before, the mural's fate is up to the property owners. What the vote does mean is that the Chosewood Park Neighborhood Association will write an official recommendation letter to the property owners that requests the mural be removed or replaced and we wait and see what they decide to do.

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