WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Junction mural vandalized

The first of the West Seattle Junction murals to be renovated – the Hi-Yu Parade scene on the south-facing wall of the Post Office – needs a little more work, to repair damage done by a vandal. Sometime recently, someone splashed beige paint across a particular group of parade-watchers depicted in the mural, to the right of the parade royalty – a woman and two children of color, seated on the curb. We heard about the vandalism via a tip, and checked it out this weekend. After we brought it to the West Seattle Junction Association‘s attention – as WSJA has been heading up the mural-renovating efforts these past few years – volunteers have removed some of the vandal’s paint, so the three people are partly visible again:

It will need professional repair, though, and the muralist who’s renovated several other local murals in the past three years, Bob Henry, will be consulted. The mural’s 2007 renovation, we noted at the time, followed tagging vandalism.

46 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Junction mural vandalized"

  • S.Volta January 17, 2021 (9:49 pm)

    This is so sad and disgusting. Thank you to the people that helped clean the paint off. I wish there was a camera to capture who did this. 

    • Pelicans January 18, 2021 (1:10 pm)

      Tried to post last night, but it didn’t show. Several years ago the city of San Francisco tried to use a kind of “hydrophobic” paint or coating on  places where people insisted on relieving themselves. The problem at the time was so bad that metal light poles were corroding.  The coating would supposedly resist any whizzer’s effort, and splash back on him (not possible for a her.)If this is a thing we could use to fight graffitti, I would be willing to contribute to any fund to protect our murals.

  • Ant January 17, 2021 (10:00 pm)

    Can you imagine how pathetic your life must be to take the effort to deface the side of a post office

  • Jort January 17, 2021 (10:50 pm)

    Imagine hating brown people this much. 

    • Suge January 19, 2021 (7:58 am)

      I walked through the Central District yesterday after seeing this and noticed that the murals there don’t have any white faces. I have never paid attention to this before. Usually I just see a mural and think it’s cool that they did that.  Also, Desmond Hanson has added a lot of color to WS. Maybe we stick with murals of cute animals from here on out. Until that’s not a good thing either.

      • Peter S. January 19, 2021 (9:09 am)

        You beat me to it, Suge.  These murals are community treasures and we are very lucky to have them.  Imagine the ensuing howls of protest (and rightly so) were a mural on the side of a wall in the Central District, depicting a historical community celebration or typical street scene from the time, and someone were to suggest that some of the faces be painted over with white faces since the area is much more diverse now than it was thirty or forty years ago.  I guess cultural appropriation is only wrong if it goes in one direction, right?   It’s a double standard and I thought everyone agreed those were not ok? I’m all for adding new murals more reflective of contemporary WS life.

        • ally cat January 20, 2021 (5:43 pm)

          You both just do not get it, very sad.

          Hope it connects eventually, please try.

          Black lives matter ✊

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy January 17, 2021 (11:01 pm)

    I feel like most of the time taggers respect murals. Shame this (non tagger) vandal didn’t.

  • Elle Nell January 17, 2021 (11:05 pm)

    Sadly these humans think that they are superior and in all really they are ignorant and shallow. We have awaken drastically, as a society and are continuing to stand for change!! This is the most wonderful part!! How many people believe in love and EQUALITY….  

  • E.W. January 18, 2021 (6:48 am)

    As a person of color I always disliked walking past this mural. Every time I saw it I would think “look at West Seattle celebrating how white it is.” Whelp, guess it wasn’t white enough.

    • JES January 18, 2021 (8:05 am)

      I think that about all of our junction murals

    • Derek January 18, 2021 (8:08 am)

      I thought the same thing! It’s very 50s/60s white culture. I think it needs to incorporate more PoC

    • jonn January 18, 2021 (9:46 am)

      I feel the same way

    • Pelicans January 18, 2021 (1:52 pm)

      So, should we paint over all our West Seattle murals to please you?

      • Elton January 19, 2021 (1:31 am)

        Pretty aggressive comment there to someone expressing how they feel. There’s a more people of color in West Seattle than you may realize – having most public art celebrate that is problematic for similar reasons to Hollywood whitewashing: it implies that if you’re not white you’re not worthy of inclusion.I personally don’t think this mural should be painted over, but I think it’s fair to consider that maybe there should be some more murals around West Seattle created by people of color. Is that so offensive to you?  

        • Peter S. January 19, 2021 (5:52 pm)

          Pretty aggressive comment there at the end by you as well, Elton.  If you read the comments, you will see that many folks, myself included, who  don’t want this mural altered would gladly welcome and encourage new murals created by a diverse range of artists.   Pessoa, below, is spot on.

    • ally cat January 18, 2021 (3:16 pm)

      Thanks for sharing E.W.

      Would love to see more art representing true diversity and all people, and communities of color.

  • neighbor January 18, 2021 (7:46 am)

    Is it a federal crime to vandalize a post office building? And do the neighboring or across the street businesses or homes have security cameras outside that may have captured an image of the vandal?

  • Derek January 18, 2021 (8:07 am)

    Black Lives matter.I think more black faces should be in this mural, personally. 

    • StopCuttingDownTrees January 18, 2021 (1:35 pm)

      There are more Asian faces like mine here in the Seattle area than any other minority group. I find it racist that Asians are constantly being left out of the whole POC push. All I hear is white and black (and sometimes brown). But tens of thousands of us are neither white, black, or brown so we’re basically invisible.

  • Theodore A Black January 18, 2021 (10:07 am)

    I am a person of color. Unless they are blatantly racist, I think the murals should be restored without changes. They reflect things as they were at the time they were painted. If you want what is current represented, paint a new mural. 

    • Derek January 18, 2021 (10:36 am)

      Hmmm. No. Paint more black faces on it. I don’t want to recall to a time when things were whiter. Just like with confederate statues, these things shouldn’t be celebrated. If we’re re-painting anyways, add more PoC faces. 

      • bb7 January 18, 2021 (11:35 am)

        Changing an art piece from history just because there aren’t enough black faces on it is just wrong. Especially if they’re already represented. Although if the original artwork is racist, then It should be taken down, not changed.

    • Pelicans January 18, 2021 (1:24 pm)

      Amen. If you don’t like our murals, don’t erase them. Paint new ones.

    • Pelicans January 18, 2021 (2:01 pm)

      Dear Mr. Black,Thank you. How about some new murals around town? New artwork would be wonderful.

    • ally cat January 18, 2021 (3:38 pm)

      I hear you, and I also am wondering, are all murals and community art intended to be permanent? Is it wrong to review community art and change things as life changes and new ideas present?

      Rather than modifying or editing something like this, I wouldn’t mind seeing some ideas for a new modern mural. Something more empowering and inspiring for these times would be awesome.

      Now, if this mural is really important and still relevant and inspiring to many in the community, that is one thing. But it personally isn’t resonating with me, and when I hear voices of color speaking up about how something makes them feel, I listen.

  • Peter S. January 18, 2021 (10:26 am)

    This is why we can’t have nice things. Some jerk damages public art because they are a special kind of jerk (i.e. racist), or even if they were just a common variety jerk (i.e. vandal).  Some people are offended  because they don’t think the mural reflects our current community makeup.  I’m guessing this mural, like many of the others, was intended by the artist to depict a scene from many years ago based on the buildings shown in the upper left corner and other clues.  Back when West Seattle *was* largely monochromatic.   Not as it is now or we wish it had been.  Just like Ballard, etc.  Probably best to come up with a different mural or just paint it over since it causes such stress in the community.  Hard to find fault with a plain brick wall.

  • norsegirl January 18, 2021 (10:27 am)

    I agree, Theodore.  Just because we don’t like a history doesn’t mean we erase it.  We acknowledge it, judge it and move forward making a better path.

    • Derek January 18, 2021 (12:54 pm)

      As a POC myself, I disagree 100%. You DO move on from racist artwork and history. Black people shouldn’t have to see white glorification. This is also MLK day, a great time to have this discussion about white artwork in West Seattle. 

      • Matt P January 18, 2021 (4:26 pm)

        How is this artwork racist?  It’s simply reflecting the demographics of the time.  Also, you suggested above to paint more black faces, but why?  Only 7% of Seattle is African American and even less in West Seattle.  Now if you had suggested adding more  Asians or those of mixed race – which outnumber African Americans in West Seattle – then I could agree, but it sounds like you’re the one being racist suggesting that more black faces should be added for the sake of adding black faces.

  • winniegirl January 18, 2021 (11:02 am)

    I wish that the description of what happened wasn’t so far down and soft peddled.  A  racist scratched out a depiction of a Black family.  Plain and simple. 

  • John W January 18, 2021 (11:48 am)

    Subjecting this  mural representing Hi-Yu, the West Seattle organization that ceased operations after 82 years in 2016 to 2020’s BLM movement is troubling.

    Not as troubling as the miscreant racist(s) whom defaced the art, but troubling in its revisionist  take on our history and artistic freedom.
    The mural was originally completed in 1992 and it inclusion of POC was ahead of its time (indeed it preceded the term POC) and probably accurately represented the constituents of the Junction.  
    I hope the artist Danny Little  who is still active responds.  Would the artist agree to modifying ‘Hi Yu Parade’ to encompass changes since its 1992 dedication?   

    Revisions to the Morgan Junction Mural by restoration artist Bob Henry in 2018 included his response to passers by requests add people of color to  to the composition to make the mural more “diverse and inclusive”.
    Modifying, changing or removing established art pieces to accommodate modern social mores is a troubling turn toward accepting censorship and the ultimate death of artistic expression.
    The work of these white male artists does indeed harbor the Eurocentric biases of Western painting now being thoroughly examined by academics. 
    Criticism of art is part of the viewing process and being aware of traditional biases will disappear with revisions to the original.

    I would like to see some modern murals created by indigenous peoples of the Northwest as well as POC  artists be added rather than change West Seattle’s embarrassing history.

    • Derek January 18, 2021 (12:31 pm)

      Censorship? That’s a bit of a stretch. If you want whites-only/white-dominated murals, paint them in Spokane. Not populated urban areas with diverse backgrounds. It’s more “troubling” that you find updating murals to include POCs is troubling. 

      • John W January 18, 2021 (2:37 pm)

              Derek, Not my definition nor any ‘stretch’ of the word.        cen·sorship/ˈsensərSHip/Learn to pronouncenoun

        1. 1.the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.
          Derek, Not my definition nor a ‘stretch’ of the word.
        • Derek January 18, 2021 (5:32 pm)

          It is a stretch because one is not entitled to a mural on a public building. We as a community have input on such matters. Same with racist statues. Getting rid of them isn’t censorship.  that’s like me painting a slur on a billboard and going “sorry it’s art…move along” not saying this is the same but it does paint a “white” culture about Seattle in its imagery. I think it needs reimagining.

    • heartless January 18, 2021 (12:43 pm)

      John W:I believe you are right.  This is the harder, more nuanced, and ultimately correct take.(As a minor aside, this calls to mind the recent debates around some WPA art at my old school in San Francisco:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/11/arts/design/george-washington-murals-ugly-history-debated.html (behind a paywall, apologies))

    • ally cat January 18, 2021 (4:27 pm)

      I am more concerned with the issues of today and making progress and contributing to healing, than I am concerned about preserving an outdoor mural for all times that reads as lacking diversity and inclusivity, or doesn’t represent the WS community today, and that is being defaced in a racist way. 

      This isn’t artwork in a gallery, it is highly visible art out in the community.

      I feel these are worthwhile conversations, and I want to hear more black and brown voices, and less white voices speaking authoritvely on white rights .

      • CMT January 19, 2021 (3:18 pm)

        Yours is the comment that really made me re-think my initial reaction.  These murals may  -unintentionally – add to a perception that white people are more welcome or fit in better in the West Seattle Junction neighborhood, and I think that eliminating that perception is more important than retaining the murals simply for nostalgia.  While it would have been great if West Seattle Junction had historically been more diverse, the fact is that it wasn’t, and I don’t agree with depicting an inaccurate historical demographic.  A neighborhood has to reflect its existing character as well as honoring elements of its past.  I don’t think the prior homogenous element is one of the elements to honor.

  • R January 18, 2021 (8:57 pm)

    Same.  As a black person in West Seattle I always thought this mural was missing some flavor, especially given the history of West Seattle/High Point.  I remember there being that single brown child by himself – I don’t remember there being a brown adult there.  My wife and I used to joke that the single Black person in the mural at Endolyne Joe’s must be that kid at the post office’s parent.  

  • Pessoa January 19, 2021 (2:11 pm)

    I feel like we have turned the clock back (or forward) to 1984  if we are counting the number of black faces and white faces on a mural that is about as benign and wholesome as a mural can possibly be.   These are truly surreal and frightening times. 

  • AmandaK January 21, 2021 (7:20 am)

    I swear it’s like some of the people commenting here think West Seattle ends at 35th Ave SW and Delridge doesn’t exist.   Your ignorance, classism and racism is showing, and it’s Ugly.   

    • John W January 21, 2021 (10:55 am)

      AmandaK’s delineation of of West Seattle ending east of 35th, ignoring Delridge  and High Point for that matter was long ago shattered by Gentrification, continuing re-development and infill development  of the areas east of 35th.   

      These neighborhoods are now quite popular with barely an acknowledgement of their historical red-lining and working poor. 

      The Delridge of now consists overwhelmingly of new housing and its re-development has drawn a truly diverse populace.   
      Demographics have shifted to embrace Hispanics, Asians and Africans with Whites still dominant.  

      I don’t believe the comments here should be dismissed with insults and those who write comments called names. 

      Please make whatever point you want about social justice,  deplorable, despicable racist defacing of public art and censorship or modification of historical murals.

  • Robert J Schmidt February 2, 2021 (7:45 pm)

    Shouldn’t the subject of this conversation be “what’s being done to find, convict and extract restitution from the low life’s that did this”?

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