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'Welcome to Kingston' mural vandalized; cleanup party planned

One of the most prominent public art pieces in Kingston has been vandalized. A series of scenic panels affixed to two walls of the Century Link building was discovered Thursday morning vandalized with gray paint.  - Contributed photo
One of the most prominent public art pieces in Kingston has been vandalized. A series of scenic panels affixed to two walls of the Century Link building was discovered Thursday morning vandalized with gray paint.
— image credit: Contributed photo

KINGSTON — One of the most prominent public art pieces in Kingston has been vandalized.

A scenic mural comprised of a series of panels affixed to two walls of the Century Link building was discovered Thursday morning vandalized with gray paint. The mural, placed as a welcome to Kingston, is seen by all motorists heading onto the peninsula from the state ferry landing.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking to people here,” said Johnny Walker, a local photographer and member of the Chamber of Commerce board of directors. “A lot of effort went into getting that done.”

Susan Rodgers, owner of Cleo’s Landing and organizer of the mural project, took to social media Thursday to recruit a cleaning party for Saturday at 9 a.m. Fortunately, the mural was completed with an anti-graffiti finish. When Rodgers visited the site this morning, some of the paint balled up when she rubbed it with a cloth.

“Who would have done this and why — that’s the bigger thing,” Rodgers said. “If you don’t like this art, why not speak out or write a letter to the newspaper?”

Rodgers said the person or persons that committed this vandalism put a lot of effort into it. “It looks like somebody took a gallon of [house] paint, threw it on these panels, took a roller and rolled that paint across the images,” she said. “Why? What’s the point?”

The mural was done by local artist Brad Pugh and replaced a decade-old mural that Rodgers said was “weathered and tired.” The older mural, too, had been tagged.

The mural project was the result of two years of planning and $6,500 in funds raised in the community. The panels can be removed if needed, as opposed to a mural that is painted directly onto a wall. The mural was installed in May.

“It was seen as a refreshing change to the waterfront,” Walker said.

Rodgers called the vandalism “a big bummer.” But she’s looking forward to Saturday when the mural again gleams, welcoming visitors to Kingston and the peninsula.

“It’s fun,” she said of the mural. “And it will be fun again.”

 

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