Disappointment is echoing through a group of artists in Arlington, including high school and college students, who painted the popular Park Plaza Mural Project.
The mural stood for more than three years in East Arlington as an anchor of urban beautification. Earlier this week, nearly 15 works of the mural were painted over with a fresh coat of brown paint.
“A lot of the artists did put in their own time and effort and money and supplies into beautifying this community,” urban artist Caleb Cannon said. “A lot of long hours [and] a lot of hard work from a lot of people went into this and it was a pretty rash decision I believe.”
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The company that owns the property was concerned about graffiti that started to appear over some of the artwork.
Cannon was one of the group of about 20 artists, which included a then city council member, Sam Houston High School students and University of Texas at Arlington students.
Cannon now stands in front of the brown wall; disappointed that his painting was underneath.
“I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder ,” Cannon said.
Cannon’s part of the mural was a colorful proposal to his now-fiancé. It featured a large ring and the words “will you marry me?” Cannon said other couples have used the engagement mural for their own proposals.
The mural was 380 feet of urban beautification and the project of Arlington Proud.
“[We] put a stamp out there that Arlington has a large community of graffiti artists as well as traditional artists who all came together and the variety out here was some of the biggest variety you’d see anywhere,” Arlington Proud leader Mark Joekel said.
Joekel grew up in the surrounding neighborhood when it was still a bustling center of commerce. He hoped this project would help revitalize the area and loved how invested the neighbors became in the project.
“A lot of heartfelt memories out here. A lot of important events for people which are now gone,” Joekel said.
There are still several other walls where murals are untouched. The artists are unsure if they will be allowed to remain.
“My hope is they at least leave this up and maybe we will have a chance to revisit more murals here,” Joekel said. “At the same time, we want to go where the owners see the value in it and work with community leaders and neighborhoods that see the value in this.”