Calgary's Black Lives Matter mural program postponed due to threats: organizers
CALGARY -- Shortly after announcing the location of the first Black Lives Matter mural in downtown Calgary was being reconsidered due to overwhelming support for the existing mural, the program has been halted due to "violent vitriol, racism and threats".
The initial plan was to paint the first of four Black Lives Matter murals on a building at First Street and Seventh Avenue SE. The location is the current home to a mural named Giving Wings to the Dream, which was painted by artist Doug Driediger in 1995 for the Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS).
The Pink Flamingo arts group is leading the creation of the new mural project, including choosing the artists for the four pieces of artwork. A posting on the website for the Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA) initally said the artist would be chosen on Aug. 17 with the project to be completed in September.
Pink Flamingo announced Wednesday on social media that the program had been postponed.
Calgary city council voted in favour of providing $120,000 in funding for the four murals.
Earlier in the day, the city issued a statement saying there had been "unprecedented support for the Giving Wings mural" and the city is now working with Pink Flamingo and CADA to find "an appropriate, and more permanent downtown site for the first Black Lives Matter mural."
"The group running the project identified this location at Seventh Avenue and First Street (S.E.) as ideal for a Black Lives Matter mural because it is seen by an estimated 30,000 -50,000 Calgarians per day due to its location opposite the Centre Street LRT station downtown," the statement reads.
More than 5,000 people signed an online petition calling for the location to be reconsidered and at least one city councillor expressed concerns about the location and the lack of public engagement about the new mural.