Richmond Graffiti Artists Challenge City Hall, Mural Gets Re-Painted

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Ribbon Cutting for Newly Painted Mural at the Gompers Garden on the Richmond Greenway, June 30, 2011. (David Moore / Sincere Design)

Ribbon Cutting for Newly Painted Mural at the Gompers Garden on the Richmond Greenway, June 30, 2011. (David Moore / Sincere Design)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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RICHMOND (KCBS)— A ribbon cutting and dedication of the newly repainted Richmond Greenway mural was held on Thursday. What started as a simple project in Richmond became a life lesson for some high school students and for city officials who, at first, declared that their graffiti was not art.

Richard Muro and nine other young artists first put up the mural at Gompers Garden last year, but the city declared it a code violation and ordered it painted over even though it was a Gompers High School art project authorized by the owner of the bare wall facing the garden.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“It was very disappointing. A lot of hard work, money, paint obviously went in to the first mural,” said Muro.

The kids took their case to City Hall, educating adults about graffiti art and themselves about navigating government bureaucracy, said Gompers principal Latoya Williams.

“It taught me a few things about graffiti and also allowed the city to wake up and listen to artists that are usually not included in the traditional art world,” said Williams.

Now the wall is once again full of bright blues, greens and reds with the taggers’ names in abstract, woven among jungle animals and flowers and frogs.

Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said the Gompers Guerrillas, as they now call themselves, proved sometimes you can fight City Hall and everyone can win in the end.

Students want to turn the entire Gompers Garden area into an oasis of public art and organic farming.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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