Carrboro mural destroyed

This is just terrible. Carrboro's mural between Weaver and Main Street is gone. The work was originally created as a fund raiser for Club Nova in 2002 and found new life as a poem by Carrboro's first Poet Laureate in 2003. Now it's a blank slate.

On Tuesday, the mural on the side wall of the Jade Palace Chinese restaurant became a blanket of sea-foam green after three men said a man offered them money to paint over it.

"One part of it was something my nephew painted, and that meant so much to me," restaurant co-owner Jenny Chan said. "It breaks my heart. It's so sad to see it all destroyed so quickly."
- | Carrboro mural painted over

Even sadder is how it was done:

Sitting at the bus stop Wednesday afternoon with his hands spattered with paint, shelter resident Joe Patillo was still shaking his head. He and two other shelter residents had been recruited for the job. It wasn't until Chan drove up that Patillo realized no one had given permission for the wall to be painted.

“I felt awful that he didn't know about it,” Patillo said.

Patillo said the story began when a man stopped by and said he was looking for some day labor. The crew went out to Carrboro Plaza, Patillo said, and picked up supplies and then went to the parking lot between the police station and Jade Palace and began setting up.

They were just finishing the job, Patillo said, and the man who hired him had left to dump the trash and paint cans, when Chan arrived and started asking what was happening.

“He said, ‘Who authorized you to do this?'” Patillo said. A few minutes later the man who hired him returned, and Patillo said once he saw what was going on, he drove off.

“He said he would pay us when he got back, but he just took off once he saw what was happening,” Patillo said.
- The Carrboro Citizen

You can read the poem that was on the wall at the bottom of this page. (For some reason, I can't seem to copy the text.)



This is sad. It was wonderful to walk by.

No disrespect to any of the artists who worked on the mural but there is a good side to this. Now its ready for some new beautiful art! Just a GIANT blank canvas begging for some creative color. Here is the text of the poem on the wall.

I Am Not A Wall
for Mike Nelson

When thewheelsofstonespin,
their grindslowlyunbindsme
freefromtherockI have been.I am sprungatombyatom.
I amdecomposed,
I amstirredintoroot
andsoftlychargedclouds.Discover mefreely
by myfaintindirections.

By Patrick Herron

Copyrighted © 2004

Some art is forever, some is transient.

I agree with Brian that this was awful, actually I think "criminal" might a more apt description. However, the canvas is primed, so what does Carrboro want to say about the next 10 years?

In light of the fact that the old mural is gone this is an excellent opportunity for the Town to make lemon aid outa' lemons. (sorry for the tired analogy) :)

I suggest that ya'll create a official town graffiti contest. (YES embrace the word graffiti. Contradict the negative connotation that graffiti is only for gang bangers) Identify some talented local spray can artists who will have a "battle". They can compete on creating two separate pieces of street art at the same time. They would have a time limit. Say 48 hours.

In conjunction with this contest you could set aside a piece of the wall just for random graffiti and stencil art (etc) by anyone. It would be painted over every two weeks or a month. That way you get lots of interesting art over time, cover over offensive gang stuff, and teach people about the beauty of change.

This is a constructive way to get creative kids involved in their community instead of "defacing" property. I think we may even be able to get the police involved in working with the kids on making some spray art. That is the kind of out reach that could work and the Town of Carrboro could pull off.

I realize this would require property owner permission. If not at the mural across from the century center then else where.

Lets embrace the art of youth!

What an awesome idea! Only Carrboro is cool enough to pull that off.

I just went and looked at the wall. It is so sad, not just for the art that was destroyed, but for all the heart that went into creating it and the connection to the cause it served.

Although Brian's idea is a good one, I would suggest giving the Chans time to reflect on their own feelings about the mural before rushing to suggest a new project.

I will forward Brian's suggestion to our Arts Commission. I think they would be the appropriate body to enter into a discussion with the Chans at the appropriate time and to propose any potential town involvement.

I agree with you completely Dan. I didn't intend to rush an idea on anyone. Just trying to help promote something positive. Very good idea to meditate on this for awhile. My respects to the Chans. :)

That is just plain mean. I am not a lawyer, but it sounds criminal on 2 counts. One is the actual damage. The other is fraud when hiring the painters and not paying them.

Are the police investigating? I can see a law and order episode out of it where the mural implicated the criminal in some other crime, so it had to go.

Yes, the police are investigating. I imagine they will bring charges if at all possible.

So where are the materials? The brushes, the paint cans? Use them to track where the stuff was purchased and get the creep that way.

Common Booker, go get 'um!

Point of clarification: Patrick Herron was our 2nd poet laurete.

Quite right, Dan! My bad.

When Kirk Ross told me the mural had been painted over I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Worse yet, it dawned on me that I actually passed those guys on their way to painting over the mural. I had ordered take out from Jade Palace and was walking to my car parked behind my office, going down the alley and behind OCSC, when Joe Patillo, an old friend of my ex, spoke to me. He was in painter's clothes and carrying cans of paint, following a white haired man. I wondered where they were going, but really didn't think anything else of it. I wish I had known to confront them then and there, which I would've done had I left Jade Palace 5 minutes later. I truly hope this individual is held accountable for his actions. I do agree though, that this is a good opportunity to use the space for something positive, if the Chans are willing.

A small bright spot in a depressing story: did anybody else notice that the Citizen scooped the N&O about who Larry Hayes is and what his motivations might be?

I really liked that mural and I'm sad that it's gone. But I also really like having a local paper that actually works like a local paper with local sources.

Yes, the Citizen definitely got the scoop on the N&O on this one.

I just re-upped on the N&O for another year, but was closer than ever to just reading my news on the intrawebs. By next year, if the Citizen can provide a reasonable alternative to the N&O's "City & State" section, that might do it.

so, where are all the painting restoration people who can get the new coat of paint off? (maybe there is a Rembrandt under the now painted over mural???)

Wowee. Last night after a particularly terrible day my family and I headed to Tyler's for a meal. Only then did I notice that the mural and my poem were painted over. How depressing. And no one told me. I was looking for a photographer to take my picture in front of it.

I was a bit relieved to hear the the backstory, how the mural and the poem were painted over by someone.

I wrote that poem as a gift to the Town of Carrboro. The poem was expressly written for that wall, the wall overlooking the police station. A poem (now rather ironically) about repression and impermanence. It was a tribute in part to Carrboro's leadership in a time where homosexuals were being battered nationally in the media. The poem is based on a Whitman piece and contains a 19th century double entendre composed of language one would have to codify his sexual orientation in. It was also meant as an anti-Bush poem, a poem voicing its resistance to the incredible repressions enacted by our government. That it was to face a police station in such a time almost made the poem write itself. Highly ambiguous lines can lend themselves to many interpretations but many of them are already dictated by their very nature.

Admittedly the way the poem was configured on the mural made it difficult to read. People needed it pointed out to them just to even see it, and then the task of ordering the reading just proved too daunting for many. Now by being painted over the difficulty of reading the poem has become utter. I was so incredibly proud and grateful and to see it gone was a punch in my gut as well. Plus a kick in the jaw.

I sincerely wish that my poem is not just another throwaway part of our throwaway culture. The poem was a sculpture of sorts that took quite a bit of time to make and it was created out of my sincere and heartfelt love for Carrboro. If the laureateship is to mean anything more than a punchline to a bad joke, if the sentiment contained within the poem is to mean anything, if the gesture of that particular poem on that particular wall is to mean anything, and maybe even if Carrboro's relation not only to the arts but also to social justice is to mean anything, I sincerely hope the poem returns to that wall. Alas I am willing to accept the poem's impermanence if that poem no longer suits the town's taste. Sigh.

I wish to thank Brian for posting the text. Thank you Brian, deeply.


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