AUSTIN - Before a local artist gets the chance to repaint a mural in the heart of Austin's black community, the blank wall will be used to pay homage to one of the most renowned days for the African American community: Juneteenth, a celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.
The mural on 12th and Chicon Street, originally created by Chris Rogers in 2014, depicted artists such as James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley and Stevie Ray Vaughan. When it was painted over last month, the East Austin community, as well as social media reacted negatively.
KVUE reporter Rebeca Trejo spoke with Austin’s Black Cultural District -- Six Square -- who said they reached an agreement for conservatorship of the wall with the owner Las Cruxes, a concept store and art gallery. Six Square said they plan to have a quote painted in the mural’s place before June 19, and then commission Rogers for another piece in the same location.
Six Square said they chose the following quote from Thurgood Marshall, the United States’ first African-American Supreme Court justice:
“At a time in our history when the streets of the nation's cities inspire fear and despair, rather than pride and hope, it is difficult to maintain objectivity and concern for our fellow citizens. And recognizing the humanity of our beings, we pay ourselves a highest tribute."
Following Juneteenth, artist Chris Rogers said he will paint a new mural, with community input.
"Rather than me coming back and immediately start to paint something up -- inviting the community to hear their voices -- so they feel like they're a part of this," Rogers said.
Las Cruxes sent KVUE the following statement about hopes for the new mural:
"We felt it best to offer stewardship of the wall to Six Square, who is an organization whose mission is to preserve the African-American heritage and cultural assets of East Austin. We are excited they have accepted and confident that they, along with the original mural artist, Chris Rogers, will put something that will honor and be most reflective of the 12th & Chicon community."
Rogers, now working with Six Square, said the shop's owner made restitution for having the mural painted over last month.
Six Square has conservatorship of the wall until 2021.
A Facebook group organized to help fight against the displacement of Austin’s communities posted about the cover-up, saying “The full transformation of 12th and Chicon from what was formerly the heart of Austin's Black Community to another gentrified, hipster corner is nearly complete.”
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