EL PASO, Texas – Two Texas artists are repainting a school mural with Old Glory after the image was painted over to comply with a homeowner’s association agreement to use desert color shades.
“The community as a whole didn’t agree with the painting over the flag mural,” Canutillo Independent School District spokesman Shane Griffith told NBC DFW. “This is a belief that we also as a school district adhere to that the colors of our flag blend with all environments.”
The 313-foot long, 26-foot tall mural at the newly constructed Congressman Silvestre & Carolina Reyes Elementary School was put to a vote by area residents recently after the homeowners association, Hunt Communities LLC, objected to the red, white and blue flag mural during it’s first iteration in January, K Fox 14 reports.
The wall was repainted a burnt orange color to comply with the rules, but local parents, residents and veterans complained, including the school’s namesake, eight-term U.S. congressman and Vietnam veteran Silvestre Reyes.
“What have we come to when we don’t think that the red, white and blue stands for everything we want our kids to learn in the school,” Reyes told KVIA 7.
Hunt Communities eventually agreed to allow the mural if district officials confirmed it complied with Veterans Affairs flag protocol, and gained approval from at least half of the residents in the neighborhood, K Fox 14 reports.
The district met the criteria, but then lacked the funds to pay for repainting the stars and stripes. Supporters launched Operation Paint it Back, with Reyes donating $1,000 of his own money, and ultimately raised more than $15,000 – about half of what the district estimated it would cost, according to NBC DFW.
That’s when muralists Martin Zubia and Ulies Gonzalez offered to get it done for $5,000.
“We’re seeing it with artistic eyes, and we know that a mural that simple, doesn’t really need $32,000,” Gonzalez told El Paso Proud.
The local Sherwin Williams sold the artists paint at cost, which cut material expenses roughly in half. The El Paso Sports Commission will cover insurance for the two artists, a $1,900 value, according to the news site.
School officials told the media the remainder of the money raised for the mural will be saved for future maintenance.