JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Blanding Boulevard near San Juan Avenue, several artists came together to paint three murals.
But in the overnight hours on Thursday into Friday, the art was ruined. Now police are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.
The three murals originated from vandalism during the months of nationwide demonstrations that were sparked by the deaths of black men and women across the country.
“‘No justice, no peace’ and the owners of the building, they agreed with the sentiment, so they wanted to keep it, but interpret it in a more artistic way,” said artist Chris Clark.
Clark is with Black Mural Map, a platform that highlights and elevates black artists and muralists.
The artists say it took them nearly 200 hours to paint the murals over the course of three weeks and in a matter of minutes, they were destroyed.
“The cops were notified, they came out there, they actually looking at it as a hate crime,” Clark said. “At first I just thought it was normal vandalism, but then when I saw it, the pieces they specifically vandalized, the word black, in Black Mural Map, over the faces and in the eyes in some of the figures we created, it looks a bit more intentional rather than someone just messing up some art work.”
Lakeshore Bicycles has been at the corner of Blanding Boulevard and Appleton Avenue for 40 years. Cathy Fetzer says a few months ago, they had the exterior of the building painted.
“We came in about a week ago, and we found this graffiti on it, pretty disappointing,” Fetzer said.
An attempt to cast a dark shadow, over a Jacksonville community that’s come together to shine bright.
“I just want to let them know, they didn’t deter us any, they didn’t stop the progress,” Clark said. “It may be a little delayed, but we are going to get back to action and complete it. And if it happens again, we are going to do it again.”