15th Street Mural Could Change, But Some Say It Should Not - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

15th Street Mural Could Change, But Some Say It Should Not

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Augusta, GA -

There's nothing yet on the wall, but the mural planned for the Rosa T. Beard Memorial Bridge is driving some up the wall.

"The whole point of this is to be community driven, and Paine or any resident really is very unhappy with a particular element. Now is the time that we can address that," says Augusta's Sustainable Agenda manager John Paul Stout, the city planner over the 15th Street Corridor Development Project.

Officials at Paine College want it addressed because they say the mural planned doesn't reflect Rosa Beard's contributions, especially as a teacher. 

"You're talking about undergraduate education, you're talking about the education you receive in elementary school and on upward, and we would have felt the mural would have connected more to the citizens in that community," says Brandon Brown, of Paine College.

Artist Lucy McTier has learned of the criticism and says she's willing to make changes to highlight Mrs. Beard. "If there are elements in a work that maybe don't speak to that, I'm willing to listen. It is public art, when I'm painting for other people, that's what I want to do," she said.

But, that isn't what other people want to do. Elizabeth Jones is on the steering committee that approved the mural.

"It was not meant to be a tribute to Mrs. Beard it was meant to be to be a tribute to 15th street and what we envision what it's going to be in the next ten, fifteen,  twenty years down the Road.

Jones says she loved Mrs. Beard, but doesn't support any significant changes to the mural because people living along 15th Street made suggestions as to what they wanted the mural to represent.

"I think it would be a travesty if we went back, as a committee, or just a few people making the decision and saying this is what the mural should be versus what the community said they wanted the mural to be," said Jones.

Stout has talked to Beard family members, and the artist, about the change and has alerted Augusta Commissioners and other political leaders about the proposed change to the mural.

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