Commissioned by the Arts Commission “as a response to community interest in showing support for members of the Black community who have experienced discrimination and individual, institutional, and structural racism,” the public art piece was installed July 21 on a traffic signal control box at the corner of East Blithedale and Camino Alto near The Cantina and Body Kinetics.
Within two days of the Tuesday, installation, however, someone either ill informed or with ill intent defaced the artwork on Thursday, but city staff repaired and restored it quickly Friday morning.
“The utility box art was designed on a template that each artist paints on and then is printed by a wrap company for the express purpose that if any part were to become damaged, that particular panel could be reprinted ASAP,” Mill Valley Arts Commissioner Sharon Valentino wrote in a post on Nextdoor. “We had no idea however that it could be done in this case in the matter of a very few hours (same day), so we were very lucky. Let’s hope this doesn’t need to be repaired again because it is costly and the Arts Commission budget is small. Thanks for the support and care from everyone.”
”We acknowledge that there is a political organization with the same name – and some have interpreted the art piece as an endorsement of the organization,” City officials said in a statement. “This is not the case. The artwork is a simple, yet powerful, statement that Black Lives Matter – and not associated with, nor an endorsement of, the organization in any way. We realize that Mill Valley has historically not fulfilled its stated intent to create a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community for people of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. Through this art piece and many other actions to come, we commit to working towards eliminating racial disparities, both inside government and in the community.”
The Arts Commission recently reviewed several art projects in progress or under consideration – see that report here.
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