Downtown mural mysteriously vanishes

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In the 15 weeks since LA muralist The Art of Chase painted a large, colorful face on the side of Eric Robert’s mill downtown Greensboro, the piece of public art became iconic. A budding landmark. People posed for engagement shoots, music videos, and Instagram selfies, but now — somehow — the mural is gone.
Robert, who owns the historic mill, said he didn’t authorize anyone to paint over the face, adding that he was in Charlotte when it happened.

“This one was a surprise to me,” he said.

And new urbanist Ryan Saunders, who orchestrated The Art of Chase‘s visit to Greensboro, said he has nothing to do with it. Saunders’ brainchild group Create Your City has facilitated several murals in the city, including one that is undisturbed on a different wall of Robert’s mill, with its “No Blank Walls” campaign.

A photo posted by Create Your City (@createyrcty) on Robert and Saunders declined to comment further on the mysterious disappearance of the face, though neither seemed happy about it.

A mural by the same artist remains on another portion of the mill.
A mural by the same artist remains on another portion of the mill.

Duck Head apparel, the only current tenant of the former Daily Bread Flour Mill, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Part of the wall is painted a light yellow that resembles one of the colors in Duck Head’s logo, though it is not immediately clear whether there is a correlation. Robert declined to answer questions about Duck Head’s possible involvement in the removal of the mural. The mural was along the path of the southern leg of the future Downtown Greenway, but Cecelia Thompson — the executive director of Action Greensboro whose organization oversees the greenway efforts — said they don’t know anything about what happened and weren’t involved.

UPDATE (Aug. 7): A spokesperson for Duck Head declined to comment on the issue.

  • Jordan Green

    Saunders on his Facebook page today: “So I just attended the Action Greensboro and synerG led lunch and learn called Arts as a Catalyst for Economic Vitality featuring Tom Phillion (President of Arts Greensboro), Nancy Doll (Weatherspoon Art Museum – UNCG Director), Cheryl Stewart (Public Art Consultant Public Art Endowment of Greensboro), Rich Whittington (@Triad Stage Managing Director) and Dabney Sanders (Downtown Greenway Director)
    I want to put out there that what happened with the wall was perfectly in the rights of all parties involved as street art has a certain expectation of being fluid and temporary. Although this piece was a statement piece to build on to generate opportunities for future murals and to present murals as a celebrated and appreciated art form in Greensboro.
    After attending this event I heard from all of these leaders and left under the impression that there is strong support for the arts and creative spirit of Greensboro. It was my responsibility to do a better job of engaging these folks and building support that would have resulted in a greater affinity and appreciation of this particular mural in our community. If this had happened perhaps the perception of this piece of work would have had much more value to the community and not have been painted over. I plan to reach out to each of these individuals and continue to work with my current partners to reinvigorate our efforts to bring more street art to Greensboro in line with our mission to increase our creative class and talent base. Please everyone look at this as an opportunity and not a setback.”

  • Scot

    It is sad Duck Head – a so called “local business” who was annoyed that the mural did not represent their brand image – was not more respectful of their local community efforts to beautify and unify parts of the city. A lot of time and effort went into that mural by those with a genuine interest for making Greensboro a better place.
    If the management at Duck Head had more of a concern for the well being of their immediate community and even their own employees they might not be facing the turmoil on both the outside and within their own walls. Worrying about this mural was like worrying about the color of the china on the Titanic.

  • Tracy D.

    The garish yellow wall and Duckhead logo is an absolute eyesore. It’s not art and certainly not pleasing to the eye.