A group of artists has been asked to lighten the faces of children depicted in a giant public mural at a Prescott school.
The project's leader says he was ordered to lighten the skin tone after complaints about the children's ethnicity. [...]
R.E. Wall, director of Prescott's Downtown Mural Project, said he and other artists were subjected to slurs from motorists as they worked on the painting at one of the town's most prominent intersections.
"We consistently, for two months, had people shouting racial slander from their cars," Wall said. "We had children painting with us, and here come these yells of (epithet for Blacks) and (epithet for Hispanics)."
Wall said school Principal Jeff Lane pressed him to make the children's faces appear happier and brighter.
City Councilman Steve Blair spearheaded a public campaign on his talk show at Prescott radio station KYCA-AM (1490) to remove the mural.
In a broadcast last month, according to the Daily Courier in Prescott, Blair mistakenly complained that the most prominent child in the painting is African-American, saying: "To depict the biggest picture on the building as a Black person, I would have to ask the question: Why?"
Blair could not be reached for comment Thursday. In audio archives of his radio show, Blair discusses the mural. He insists the controversy isn't about racism but says the mural is intended to create racial controversy where none existed before.
"Personally, I think it's pathetic," he says. "You have changed the ambience of that building to excite some kind of diversity power struggle that doesn't exist in Prescott, Arizona. And I'm ashamed of that."
In other words, LibrulsAreTheRealRacists!!!1!
For the record, Steve Stockmar, City Editor of The Prescott Daily Courier, reports that Blair's line was:
"I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who's President of the United States today ..."
Other sources* (e.g.) have transcribed the moment in a bit more detail:
On May 21, Blair said, "I am not a racist individual, but I will tell you depicting a black guy in the middle of that mural, based upon who's president of the United States today and based upon the history of this community when I grew up, we had four black families — who I have been very good friends with for years — to depict the biggest picture on that building as a black person, I would have to ask the question, 'Why?'"
Blair also admits that "whenever people start talking about diversity, it's a word [i] can't stand."
About that diversity thing, not to mention who served as the models for the artists, we turn back to the first source:
Faces in the mural were drawn from photographs of children enrolled at Miller Valley, a K-5 school with 380 students and the highest ethnic mix of any school in Prescott.
* If you'd like to listen for yourself, visit the KYCA archives, in the "KYCA PM" section, and look for the 5/21 show titled "The Birthday Boy," with the blurb "Birthday boy Steve wraps up the week talking about the mural at Miller Valley School."
KYCA is, unsurprisingly, an affiliate of Fox News Radio.