SATURDAY UPDATE: The Neighborhood Thrift mural will live on — at least for now. Officials from The Well Community Church reversed their Friday decision to paint over the mural. Read more in this news update at fresnobee.com.
Here’s what The Well’s pastor Tim Goetz had to say about the decision via e-mail:
We have decided to hold off on painting over the mural. We would like to take it a little slower to be sure that we are making a good decision. It feels like we found ourselves in a lose-lose situation, by where we have to choose between some neighbors or the greater Tower community. I would like some time to try to find a way to turn this situation into a win. We do not know the fate of the mural, but people can rest easy knowing a rash decision will not be made.
The best thing people can do that are in support of the mural is to stop emailing and calling and distracting the employees of Neighborhood Thrift. I am aware that there are many that do not want to see the mural go. Just let me have a week or two to try to sort things out.
Look for a comprehensive story in tomorrow’s issue of The Bee.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The Well Community Church, which backs the thrift shop, announced this evening that it will paint over the mural. That’s expected to start on Saturday. For more info, read tomorrow’s issue of The Bee.
ORIGINAL POST, 10/22: There’s another public art debate happening in Fresno — this one involving an in-the-works Tower District mural. It’s on the side of the recently opened Neighborhood Thrift Store at Olive and Wilson avenues.
There was a meeting on Wednesday night at the thrift store for both sides to air their opinions. About 50 people showed up, most of them in favor of the mural. Check out this story from today’s Bee for more on the meeting and the mural.
To boil down the two arguments: Some neighborhood residents want the mural painted over, saying its offensive and brings down their property values. The pro-mural folks say it’s art, and art should push some buttons and cause debate. Also, they point out that the mural is not even done yet.
The artists say the mural is meant to represent the Valley — from the woman made up of water, to the baby laying on top of the fruits and vegetables, to the menacing men looming above.
If this debate sounds a bit familiar, it’s because Fresno had a similar controversy last month about the sculptures at Iron Bird Lofts.
Another interesting aside: The mural in question and its artists were the featured in the video where the Contra Costa Times was trying to find intelligent life in Fresno.
[photos by Eric Paul Zamora / The Fresno Bee]