Community discusses future of Florence BLM mural during city council meeting

Florence leaders, community discuss future of 'Black Lives Matter' mural

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Just a couple of months ago artists, political leaders, and community members celebrated the long hours that went into painting the Black Lives Matter Street Mural on Barnes Street.

However, after threats to the city manager and vandalism to the piece, former Mayor Stephen Wukela told organizers the mural would have to be removed.

Mural organizer Wyleek Cummings was one of the people who addressed the mural during Monday’s city council meeting and has hopes to save the mural.

Prior to painting the mural, Cummings issued a letter to the city stating the paint would be biodegradable and wouldn’t be a permanent fixture.

“The lack of clarity I would say here, what is meant by temporary,” said Cummings.

Cummings said they knew the mural wasn’t permanent and would erode over time due to weather and traffic.

He asked the council to consider waiting on a decision until after the special election to determine the District One and District Three council seats.

“If it’s possible to just wait until the full council was there, and we would go with whatever is decided at that time,” said Cummings.

Cummings said discussions to remove the mural has sparked organizers to go through the process of making the mural permanent.

Prior to painting the mural, Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin said Cummings told her that the mural would wash away after three to five rain cycles.

“When you had the conversations with the prior mayor he expressed the reasons to you as to why it wasn’t to be permanent based on your legal writings that was set forth,” said Ervin.

While no vote was held, Ervin said she’s commissioned a cultural art team to create art that represents the city of Florence.

“It will be an inclusive artwork and it is commissioned and we are leaving that to our citizens to direct us on how to move the community, which includes the Black Lives Matter mural artists to move the city forward,” said Ervin.

When asked about the timeline for removing the mural, City Manager Randy Osterman said there was a plan for two-speed tables to be added on Barnes Street following the installation of the inclusive playground next to the Pearl Moore Basketball Center. Those speed tables are set to be installed shortly after Christmas.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.