The Writing on the Wall

My phones were ringing off the hook this morning with a major art incident going down at the corner of NE Broadway and MLK. My first art emergency! Even the mayor was called in to survey the scene: apparently the mural at the former site of Rhythm Traders was about to be painted over by the building's new tenant, and several artists came to protest.

The whitewashing isn't as imminent as some had feared, and the new occupant isn't even finalized yet, but it's entirely possible that the mural's days are numbered for economic reasons described by Willamette Week about an hour ago. When that new tenant does sign their rental contract, you can bet that lots of folks will be lobbying them to leave the mural -- a tribute to our sister City of Mutare -- where it is. But a giant cell phone company isn't likely going to keep an artwork like this on their corporate facade, so RACC is also looking at the possibility of simply covering up the mural with plywood, to be painted over temporarily and hopefully uncovered again years from now when a more funky tenant occupies the space once again.

Update 7/26: Jennifer Yocom, the Mayor's Arts and Culture Director, reported on KGW last night that the new tenant, T Mobile, has enthusiastically agreed to leave the mural intact and on display. Congratulations to all who intervened as advocates for this beloved community mural.

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