San Francisco to keep but cover up divisive mural - InfoNews

Current Conditions

23.2°C

San Francisco to keep but cover up divisive mural

FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, people fill the main entryway of George Washington High School to view the controversial 13-panel, 1,600-square foot mural, the "Life of Washington," during an open house for the public in San Francisco. San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education President Stevon Cook says he plans to introduce a solution at the school board meeting Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, to cover the "Life of Washington" mural without destroying it. Cook says he will propose covering the mural with panels that contain artwork that shows "the heroism of people of color in America, how we have fought against, and continue to battle discrimination, racism, hatred, and poverty." (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
August 13, 2019 - 10:48 PM

SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco school board voted Tuesday to preserve but cover up a public high school mural depicting slavery and the killing of a Native American.

After a public outcry, the board voted 4-3 to reverse its June vote to paint over the "Life of Washington" mural at George Washington High School. Instead, staff were directed to work out alternatives to cover the mural with panels or other materials depicting "the heroism of people of colour in America" and their fight against racism and poverty, said board President Stevon Cook, who made the proposal.

"We are not going to paint over public art," he said. "We're going to find another way to keep it from public view."

The cover up will require an environmental review and the mural will remain on display at least until then. While the panels might conceivably be removable, some board members indicated that the intention was to keep the mural from view. The school district said the mural would be digitized so that art historians could see it, but that it would not be on public view on campus.

The cost is expected to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The 1936 work is painted directly on the school walls. It depicts the life of George Washington. Sections of the 1,600-square-foot (149-square-meter) work were intended to show the darker side of that history: white settlers standing over the body of a Native American and slaves working at Washington's estate.

Opponents called the mural racist and offensive.

"I am a great granddaughter of a slave. I don't need a mural in my school or office to tell me I'm a slave," said teacher Virginia Marshall, KTVU-TV reported.

But supporters said destroying the mural would be historical and artistic censorship.

"I hope that this board would leave that mural alone. It tells the whole truth about Mr. Washington's being complicit in the slave trade," said the Rev. Amos Brown, president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP.

"Art has to make us feel uncomfortable," actor Danny Glover, a Washington High graduate, told reporters before the meeting. "That's what art does."

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

  • Popular vernon News
  • Comments
  • Kamloops slo-pitch team refused recognition for 'offensive' team name
    KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops beer league slo-pitch team recently won in their division at a tournament held in Princeton but they never received the credit they'd expected in the local newspape
  • Heavy summer snow in northern B.C.
    B.C. - It's been a long, cold night in parts of northern B.C. As Environment Canada promised, a heavy dump of snow has fallen on parts of the Alaska highway and a total accumulation of 2
  • Community mourns West Kelowna teen who drowned
    WEST KELOWNA - A makeshift memorial has been erected near where a West Kelowna teen drowned this weekend. Flowers, photos, candles, a skate deck and messages of love have been set up at the
  • UPDATE: B.C. boy found after lengthy search
    MACKENZIE - A massive search for a four-year-old in Mackenzie B.C. was a success and he's been found. RCMP were notified of a missing boy named George on Aug. 17 at 1:06 p.m. in the Lion
  • Four year old boy missing in northern B.C. wilderness found unharmed
    MACKENZIE, B.C. - The frantic search for a four-year-old boy who went missing in northern British Columbia came to a happy conclusion Sunday when the child was found safe and sound. The boy
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile