LUCAS PEDRUSIO/Associated PressA mural in Baltimore has drawn criticism from some local officials.
A mural of a polar bear and an eagle in Baltimore, Maryland, was covered in paint in a bizarre and controversial move.
The Baltimore City Department of Design and Construction says it painted over a mural on a city-owned building in an effort to promote the city’s newest arts and culture museum.
The mural in question, which was covered by graffiti, was painted over Monday in front of the city-run Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), a museum that celebrates local culture.
“It’s the art that’s so powerful, it doesn’t matter where you are,” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Monday, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“The beauty of Baltimore is it’s so diverse.
And so many things that we don’t have in the big cities that are more culturally vibrant, it’s the beauty of art that we can all appreciate.”
A spokesman for the department said the painting was done by local artist Joe Pecora, who has worked on the museum for about a year.
“The department is not aware of any specific concerns or complaints regarding this mural,” the spokesman said.
“This mural is a part of the Museum of Modern Art Baltimore, and is a collaboration between the Baltimore City Design and Conservation Department, and a partnership with local artist and mural artist Joe [Pecora],” the department added in a statement to the Sun.
The city is currently hosting the inaugural Baltimore Art Walk in June, where visitors can view the work of local artists.
In a statement on Monday, Rawlings Blake also called the painting a “travesty.”
“It has no place in Baltimore.
The art of Baltimore can and should be seen, and this mural will not make it so,” the statement said.
“This is not art.
It is reprehensible.”
According to the Washington Post, Baltimore has been dealing with a surge in violent crime since the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody in April 2016.
Pecoria, who is based in Los Angeles, said in a Twitter post that he was “disappointed” by the decision.
“As a resident of Baltimore, I am appalled that the mural has been painted over.
The mural was created by an artist in the city, and I have nothing but respect for his art,” he wrote.