Tuesday, December 11, 2012

GDOT crews paint over Roti mural near Pittsburgh neighborhood (Update)

Posted By on Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Doug Dean, a former state representative and one of the Pittsburgh residents who painted over the artwork, says the community has an artist in mind to paint a replacement mural
  • Dustin Chambers
  • Doug Dean, a former state representative and one of the Pittsburgh residents who painted over the artwork, says the community is considering several artists to paint a replacement mural
Late last week, a Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman told CL that sometime before Christmas the state agency would paint over the Living Walls mural by French artist Pierre Roti that sparked controversy and debate in southwest Atlanta. Today the state agency kept its promise and sent work crews to cover up the piece.

The 240-foot piece along University Avenue on the edge of the Pittsburgh neighborhood was painted earlier this summer as part of Living Walls Concepts, a year-round version of the annual summer street art conference hosted by the nonprofit public art organization Living Walls.

In mid-November, a small group of Pittsburgh residents painted over the piece. The group was angry about lack of community involvement in selecting the mural and incensed that the painting contained what they considered "demonic" imagery. The move spurred other mural supporters, including people from surrounding neighborhoods, to try and preserve the painting. Questions were raised about who actually owned the wall and whether Living Walls organizers followed the proper procedure to secure approval for the mural. (The group did follow what City Hall officials outlined months before.) Ultimately, the decision to cover up the mural was left to GDOT, which in late November promised to remove the painting.

Atlanta City Councilwomen Cleta Winslow, who currently represents Pittsburgh, and Joyce Sheperd, whose new district will include the neighborhood starting in January, promised to hold a community meeting to discuss the mural and issues between the neighborhoods. No such meeting has taken place.

CL's Dustin Chambers, who's thoroughly documented Living Walls, is on the scene. We'll update with his photos when they become available. Atlanta journalist Jenny Jarvie has penned a great piece for the Atlantic Cities looking at the Roti mural brouhaha and the public's strained, complicated relationship with street art.

NOTE: This post has been updated to include new photographs and more recent information about the removal of the mural.

Another photo after the jump

French artist Pierre Roti painted the 240-foot piece earlier this summer
  • Dustin Chambers
  • French artist Pierre Roti painted the 240-foot piece earlier this summer

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