The building that used to be a Boys and Girls Club on Page Street in San Francisco has been the home of six beautiful street murals for over seven years. Unfortunately, the building changed ownership earlier this year and is now home to a private arts school, Fei Tien Academy, that plans on removing the beloved street murals, according to the daily San Francisco neighborhood news site Hoodline.com.
The school says that they are being removed in order to make room for new windows into the school’s classrooms, but the creator behind the community art projects, Sharon Virtue, was not happy with the news.
“The new owners are going to pull out the murals, despite my request for them not to and local neighbors rallying hard to find them a new home,” Virtue wrote in an email to friends and supporters yesterday afternoon. “SF Parks and Rec have offered to give them a storage space, but cannot assist with removing them.”
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, graffiti is the most common type of property vandalism (35%) and estimates suggest that Americans pay about $319 million each year in taxpayer dollars to remove graffiti with things like anti graffiti spray.
Instead of allowing the building to be overtaken in this way Virtue worked with the local children of the center at the time in an attempt at community beautification.
Many members of the community have come out in support of Virtue and the preservation of her street murals, but the school has given a deadline of December 31 before they begin removal. Virute meanwhile is in Europe and won’t be back until January 11.
Virtue is concerned that improper removals of the street murals will result in them crumbling and being destroyed. On the other hand, school officials say they need to have the work finished by the time classes resume January 4.