Artist cleans up ArtPrize entry after vandalism report downtown

ArtPrize

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A mural entered into ArtPrize this year is at the center of an investigation after it was reportedly vandalized over the weekend.  

ArtPrize entry “Aztlan” is a colorfully illustrated timeline of Hispanic history and cultures. It’s being hosted at MeXo Tequila & Mezcal Bar and Restaurant on Fulton Street.

“We spend a lot of hours on it. It’s a part of our life and this is for the community,” Arturo Morales Romero said of his piece Aztlan.

When Morales Romero arrived at MeXo Sunday morning to continue working on the piece, he realized someone else left their mark in a different way. Inappropriate images were painted onto parking spots nearby and a portion of the mural.  

“I arrived here at 6:30 (Sunday morning). That’s when I realized that the painting behind me, the mural was vandalized,” Morales Romero said. “I got sad because if this is happening to my piece, it’s probably going to happen to other pieces around.”

The Grand Rapids Police Department confirmed that an incident report of the vandalism was filed Sunday morning.

Last week, another ArtPrize piece was reported stolen from Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar and Restaurant. It was returned to the artist the next day.

No matter what, Morales Romero says he will keep creating on every canvas.

“A painting can be fixed,” Morales Romero said. “We don’t have a doubt about that. But the other thing is that I hope those people fix their attitude.”

According to GRPD, property owners are installing more surveillance cameras to keep extra eyes on watch. The department urges anyone with information to contact them at 616.456.3400 or Silent Observer at 616.774.2345.

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