Artist speaks on vandalism of BLM mural: ‘This was obviously an act of ignorance’

Artist addresses vandalism to BLM mural

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - One of the artists behind the Black Lives Mural in Downtown Cincinnati that was vandalized Tuesday says there’s a special irony in what the suspect did.

“The two letters the paint is covering, the ‘E' and the ‘S,’ are about education and being treated fairly,” artist Michael Coppage told FOX19 NOW Wednesday. “And this was obviously an act of ignorance.”

Coppage is one of seventeen artists who led teams of volunteers in creating the mural that now graces Plum Street outside Cincinnati City Hall. Each artist took one letter (and the exclamation point) of ‘Black Lives Matter!’

Coppage says he painted a ‘black power’ fist on his letter as a sign of resistance and resilience.

The privately funded mural was unveiled June 19.

It was vandalized by an unidentified suspect Tuesday night.

Cincinnati police released security footage of the act hours after the incident occurred. The footage shows a man dump red paint across part of the mural before fleeing the scene.

Coppage says the damage is infuriating but not unexpected.

“For a lot of people in this city, this mural has more value than a lot of pieces hanging in the museum right now,” he said.

“It hurts. It just lets you know that hatred is still around.”

He also says, even with the vandalism, the spirit behind the mural prevails.

“When people try to tear down beautiful things, come back together and bounce back strong,” he advised.

Coppage says he and other artists plan to repaint the mural, though they won’t be doing so soon.

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