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Artists, community members upset after murals painted over in Fountain Square

Owner of building says it was a miscommunication
Murals painted over
Posted at 12:40 PM, Jun 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-06 16:52:09-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Some of the most well-known murals in Fountain Square have been painted over.

They were in what's known as "Graffiti Alley" just east of Virginia Avenue. The artists and community members have been trying to figure out why this happened over the last few days. Mike Meares is one of them.

"We had permission to do this. The mural were done in partnership with Square Cat Vinyl, who hosted the Back Alleyhoo Psychedelic Music Fest," Mears said. "That's how I got the opportunity to paint mine back in late Summer of 2019."

The murals became part of the fabric that makes Fountain Square so appealing, Meares said.

"A few days ago, I was alerted on Instagram that the murals were being painted," he said. "By the time I got down here, they were already gone."

Meares said he's not only frustrated for himself but also the community.

"I think really just the community of people who live in the neighborhood as well as people who like to come out here, go to restaurants and bars, they've always enjoyed this a spot to go out and see some great artwork," Meares said.

The Instagram account @indy.streetart, among others, has been chronicling the ordeal. Social media, along with walking by it, is how many people realized what had been done. Clay Daugherty is one of them.

"I was totally surprised. This is the cultural center of Indianapolis," Daugherty said. "I would rather have beautiful artwork lining our city, our beautiful city, to be able to drive more people here, more culture here."

Daugherty noted how not even 24 hours after the murals had been painted over, someone had already tagged the buildings with graffiti. That's something that doesn't typically happen when there are murals up.

"There's not much else you're going to have in an alleyway in the backside of a building that's not meant to attract people to a storefront," Meares said. "I think it gives new energy to a space that otherwise doesn't have that. I think it's a great thing to do with building space and the empty walls that you've got."

WRTV is still waiting to hear back from the owner of the building, Koehring and Sons Holding, but they have released statements to other media outlets including Nuvo. They say it was a miscommunication and it was never their intention to have the artwork painted over. They're inviting all artists who had work in the alley to come back and repaint the murals. New artists are welcomed as well.

A GoFundMe was started Sunday to help replace the murals.