CHICAGO (CBS) — A large mural, commissioned by the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce with property tax dollars, was destroyed just days after the it was completed after it was mistaken as graffiti.
The mural, painted by Artist JC Rivera, was completed August 18th, and wrapped around two buildings in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. The mural took up to a month to complete, but was destroyed in a matter of days.
The mural could be seen by many Brown Line passengers, complete with Rivera’s signature “bear champ character” — a yellow character seen repeatedly throughout the artwork.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports another mural by the same artist can be seen in Chicago’s South Loop, stretching over two stories, also complete with the artist’s signature “bear champ.”
According to the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, 5 days later, they learned the mural near Lakeview’s Paulina L-stop was painted over. The city says someone saw graffiti, rather than Rivera’s graffiti-inspired mural, and reported it.
“It was so obviously not a work of graffiti. It was clearly an intentional piece of city art,” said Terri Hanley, a neighbor. “I wish they would respond to rat complaints as quickly as they covered up this graffiti,” said Hanley.
“It’s so sad! “ said Zac Togami, who workers nearby.
Chicago’s Streets and Sanitation said they mistakenly covered over Rivera’s work.
According to Chamber documentation, they earmarked about $60,000 for seven murals over the course of the year – a portion for that paid for the now absent artwork. The money was supplied by neighborhood property tax dollars.
The cost of the city removing the artwork is unknown, but it adds up to a tapestry of taxpayer waste.
In a statement, Streets and Sanitation said they’re working with the Alderman to address the matter. The Chamber of Commerce also echoed those thoughts.
All parties, including the artist, are hoping for a resolution. When that will happen and how much that will cost has not been determined at this time.