With council withdrawing support for the Behind the Mask public art project appears to make a clear case for council to establish a better system for decision- making regarding projects such as this, it also appears council may have proceeded with permission too quickly, without considering public and community input.
However, I believe their original intention was to be supportive, compassionate and empathetic. There are some additional factors that may have not been considered at the time council initially approved it.
The biggest factor that has come to light was two of the existing murals being recently tagged and defaced. What/who would stop vandals from spray painting derogatory and inappropriate words as well as hate symbols on this art?
While the intention was to create dialogue, could that dialogue turn into hurtful profanity and how would that be helpful to anyone? While this project’s aim was to further acceptance and understanding, if the vandalism were to occur it would set this goal back and could also cause pain not only for the artists, but for all of us who have friends and family members who have mental illness diagnoses.