I haven’t been able to find anyone who knows exactly when this mural was painted, but it’s been a fixture in Manhattan Square Park for at least 30 years, says Charles Moreland, Executive Director of Rochester Parkour . The outdoor venue has been mostly abandoned for the past 10 years, but its concrete walls and irregular geometry make it ideal for practicing the fine art of Parkour. Charles’ group can often be found moving throughout the park. Yesterday Charles noticed the mural had been covered with a fresh coat of gray paint…
The mural (when it was still there) was a depiction of the history of Rochester – from the days of the Iroquois, to Frederick Douglass, George Eastman, and Kodak technology aboard satellites in space. But now, like a giant Etch A Sketch, it’s completely gray.
John Picone is the City’s Park Superintendent. In a phone conversation he explained to me that the park is in between phases of a makeover. The nearby ice rink and lodge (a former restaurant) underwent a renovation and were reopened this winter. But the mural was in rough shape.
With events such as the Fringe Festival and Roc Pride Festival scheduled to take place in the park, and with the new lodge available for the public to rent, John says the peeling paint and other graffiti in the park had to be cleaned up.
But Charles disagrees, “That mural has been there longer than I’ve been alive, and in the last 30 years that wall HAS NEVER BEEN TAGGED. Not once. Every other wall in MSP gets ‘fuck’ or ‘I was here’ or whatever other tags… but no one has ever touched the mural.”
Charles says he’d like to see something happen with the wall. “It does Manhattan Square Park a disservice to repaint the artwork grey. They complained about no one going to the park before, but now I can’t imagine anyone going there just to stare at grey walls.”
As it turns out, Luis Burgos, Commissioner of Recreation and Youth Services would like to see a new mural painted here. He has already reached out to Dr. Ian Wilson of WALL\THERAPY who would be happy to give the wall some ‘therapy’. “Manhattan Square Park would be a most ideal location for a WALL\THERAPY mural! We (myself and WALL\THERAPY team) would love the opportunity to be a part of the conversation regarding that wall space,” says Ian.
My personal opinion… let’s get something back on this wall. BUT, in the future, please consult the artist, or the people of Rochester, before public art is destroyed.
On a Related Note,
WALL\THERAPY Needs YOU…
WALL\THERAPY is trying to raise $30,000 for their 2013 line-up. Please consider being a part of this very worth-while cause and make a donation to the Indiegogo campaign . There are only 17 days left!
The public is also invited to a WALL\THERAPY Party and Fundraiser tonight, 7-9pm at Cure (50 Public Market Way). RSVP on Facebook
– $15 suggested donation at the door
– One drink + hor d’oeuvres
– Cash bar available
– Perks will be on display
– Artists names will be released for this year’s roster!
– Music by DJ Chreath
– Live Painting by local Wall Therapists.
Tags: art, Charles Moreland, Chestnut Street, City of Rochester, downtown Rochester, Fringe Festival, Gay Alliance, Graffiti, Ian Wilson, Manhattan Square Park, mural, Roc Pride Festival, Rochester, Rochester NY, Rochester Parkour, Wall-Therapy
This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 at 7:55 am and is filed under Art + Culture, Events, Rochester Destinations, Rochester Images, Rochester News, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
I am sorry to hear this. It was a project of the Pyramid Arts Center when I was Executive/Artistic Director. We brought Nicaraguan native muralist Jorge Samarriba to town to work with children to paint the mural depicting the history of the Americas right on down to Rochester history. Through the years it remained remarkably free of graffiti, I think because it was widely respected by kids in the community. You can see much of his other work on the web. The children’s names were at the bottom right of the painting. It was very exciting when it happened and was a very special project. The mural needed some restoration. Perhaps we should bring him back to town to do it again.