In Arizona, a school mural controversy
In Arizona, an elementary school principal is said to have ordered that the faces of some children depicted in a giant mural be lightened after receiving complaints about the ethnicity of the kids.
The Arizona Republic reports that Jeff Lane, the principal at Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott, said he sent artists out only to fix shading.
But R.E. Wall, the leader of Prescott’s Downtown Mural Projects, said he was ordered to lighten the skin tone on the "Go on Green" mural, which covers two walls outside Miller Valley and was designed to advertise a campaign for environmentally friendly transportation.
It features portraits of four children, with a Hispanic boy as the dominant figure. Faces in the mural -- the fourth of community murals drawn by a group of artists known as the “Mural Mice” -- were drawn from photos of kids enrolled at the K-5 school, located about two hours north of Phoenix.
Wall said he and other artists were the targets of slurs from motorists who passed as the mural was being painted.
The Republic reported that Lane said that he received only three complaints about the mural and that his request for a touch-up had nothing to do with political pressure. "We asked them to fix the shading on the children’s faces," he said. "We were looking at it from an artistic view. Nothing at all to do with race."
Meanwhile, City Councilman Steve Blair called last month for the mural to be removed.
On his radio talk show, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott, Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the painting is African American, saying: "To depict the biggest picture on the building as a black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?"
Blair could not be reached for comment, the Republic said.
Arizona can’t seem to stay out of the newsthese days, what with the anti-immigration law that has sparked controversy and another new law that targets ethnic studies programs.
It's the state that keeps on giving.
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