Paint Memphis murals mistakenly covered by city workers

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - City of Memphis workers mistakenly painted over work done by volunteer painters.

Friday, City of Memphis officials admitted a mistake was made when city crews, intending to remove murals deemed offensive, painted over non-offensive murals.

The murals, located across the Willett Street underpass, were a part of an art installation organized by Paint Memphis. Artist from across the country came to the Memphis to create the largest public art display in Tennessee.

Back in November, city council members discussed whether the content of some of the murals was offensive. City council members agreed to remove several murals, but by Friday, several of the wrong murals were covered up.

"They have destroyed about $30,000 worth of murals," said Paint Memphis Executive Director Karen Golightly.

Golightly discovered the mix up earlier this week, but was notified Friday that even more murals were covered. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland called Golightly to apologize.

"The mayor said he would stop the buffing for now and we will have to see how to move forward," said Golightly.

WMC Action News 5 reached out to Public Works Director Robert Knecht, and we were sent the following statement:

"This is a City Council initiative to remove several murals at the Willett street underpass. There has been a miscommunication with the crews executing the work who did more than was requested. This was not intentional."

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