A mural that was painted over on 12th and Chicon streets will be replaced with another one from an Austin artist, a member of a merchants association said Saturday.
Natasha Harper-Madison, a member of the East 12th Street Merchants Association, said her phone “started blowing up” Friday with calls from people concerned about someone painting over a mural on a building at the intersection of 12th and Chicon streets next door to the King Bee Lounge.
Darold Gordon, the owner of the Big Easy — a New Orleans-style bar and grill on East 12th Street — didn’t call Harper-Madison but said painting over the mural was “crazy.” The mural had paintings of music legends James Brown, Prince and Tupac Shakur, he said: “I thought it was something nice and unique for the East side.”
People have already put graffiti on the repainted blank wall that says “(Expletive) gentrification” and “Black Culture Matters.” Members of the East 12th Street Merchants Association said Saturday morning they planned to paint a message on the wall Saturday saying a new mural will be painted there.
The old mural was falling apart and needed to be repaired, said Harper-Madison. She said the owner of a business that is slated to open soon in the building decided to repaint the wall. The owner, Veronica Ortuño, said she is opening a clothing store and art gallery called “Las Cruxes.”
“Las Cruxes is an independently owned and operated small business with long-standing ties to the East Austin community,” Ortuño said in an email.
“As a 14-year resident, I consider Austin my home. We are taking into consideration and listening to all concerned parties. As persons of color ourselves, we do not take this issue lightly,” the email said. “We will continue to work with our friends at the 12th Street Merchants Association, our neighbors, and the community, on plans towards a mural reflecting the history of 12th and Chicon, and Austin culture at large, as was our intention all along.”
The mural was painted by a Houston artist and had been on the building for three years, Harper-Madison said.
She said the merchants association plans to hold an event for the community to pick a design for the new mural, which will be painted by an Austin artist.
Anyone interested in attending the meetings of the merchants association is welcome, Harper-Madison said. The next meeting will be at 12:30 p.m. May 25 at Rio Rita Lounge, 1203 Chicon St.