Carrie Marill's Mural Is Defaced on Roosevelt Row; the Fight to Preserve Public Art Continues
Editor's Note: Since the publishing of this story, Carrie Marill would like to add that she and a group of volunteers will be repainting the mural tonight during First Friday.
If you make it out to First Friday tonight, you might notice a missing mural. Under the white paint on the west-facing wall of Dougherty Wholesale Floral Co. on Second and Roosevelt streets in downtown Phoenix is work by local painter Carrie Marill, which was brutally defaced Thursday night (the same night she gave a talk about her current exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art).
Mural by Carrie Marill
It was quickly painted over by Marill and members of Roosevelt Row the following morning.
Marill, painted the brick wall in March. The black and white mural of a woman on an old-school cruiser with a striped top and a hefty baguette in her bike basket is what the Marill describes as an homage to the late, iconic street artist Margaret Kilgallen, who died in 2001.
Thursday night was the second time Marill's mural had been defaced. The first time, Marill says someone wrote "pirate bootleg rip" over the mural, a likely reaction to her work being inspired by another artist.
And while the reaction was nothing new -- artists have debated inspiration, appropriation, and the life of public, ephemeral art since the emergence of fine art -- the defacement of public art raises questions within a community about the value of art and how much that community values the work on its walls.
Cindy Dach, is one of Roosevelt Row's founding members. She's also a co-owner of Eye Lounge Gallery and MADE Art Boutique in downtown Phoenix and a co-owner of Tempe's Changing Hands Bookstore. She was one of the principle organizers of a volunteer day held on Roosevelt Row in the spring of 2012 that saw 600 volunteers clean up sidewalks and empty lots throughout the neighborhood and helped three local artists who volunteered to paint murals: Laura Spalding Best, Tara Logsdon - and Carrie Marill.
Dach says the purpose of the volunteer day was to "create a sense of place around Roosevelt Row, to beautify the neighborhood, and to say "hey you're in a place where art matters." She says she saw Marill's mural the morning after it was defaced and was heartbroken.
"We're now considering having statements explaining every piece of art, which takes everything to a new level," says Dach after a Roosevelt Row meeting Nov. 2.. "It's a sad day for the arts community when artists are attacking artists and we have to think about preservation, about statements on where ideas come from, and when our our art community needs bylines. But people are choosing to respond in a hateful way instead of having a conversation."