Black Lives Matter mural repaired in Park City after act of vandalism
Aljay Fuimaono returned to Main Street on Sunday with a message of unity just days after an act of vandalism sent a message of division in Park City amid the racial tensions in the U.S.
The artist from Vineyard who created the large Black Lives Matter mural on the Main Street asphalt in early July that was targeted by vandals just days later traveled to Park City again last weekend to repair the mural, tweak the image and leave a message for the community on the street.
Fuimaono led a team to the Black Lives Matter mural in the morning on one of the pedestrian days on Main Street. They repainted the vandalized lettering so the mural again reads “Black Lives Matter.” They also altered the mural to feature Black and white holding hands rather than a clenched fist symbol that previously represented the letter ‘I.’ The clenched fist was one of the sections of the mural that the vandals targeted.
Fuimaono also added the text of a poem he wrote after the mural was vandalized. The poem is based on his personal story. One of the lines of the poem reads: ‘We need to Unite as a country and fix our Broken System.”
“I’m kind of happy it happened. I am. Because then I get to come back and share a message, a positive message, a message of peace, a message of unity,” he said in an interview on Sunday as the repair work continued, adding, “We just stand behind the message behind the actual phrase of, you know, Black Lives Matter, which is racial equity.”
He said he has received near-unanimous support since the act of vandalism. Fuimaono said some of the people on Main Street were apologetic about the vandalism and offered to help.
“Despite all the negative stuff that’s happening, I’ve seen more unity in the last three days, you know, than I’ve seen in my whole life, Personally, with different races,” he said, explaining that he sees Park City as supporting the cause.
Fuimaono explained the decision to replace the symbol of the clenched fist, saying some did not understand the meaning. He said the redone image should not be as controversial as the original one.
“A lot of people kind of interpreted that the wrong way as something negative, so I came back and put this on there. I mean, who’s going to get mad at this, right,” he said.
The Black Lives Matter mural, stretching 300 feet in length and with 14-foot-tall letters, was one of a series of artworks that were put on Main Street with social justice themes. The Fuimaono work received the most attention, and the mural and the subsequent vandalism quickly spurred widespread chatter on Main Street and in the wider community.
A majority of Park City’s elected officials at a meeting several days after the damage indicated they wanted the vandalized works repaired. The murals are seen as advancing City Hall’s social equity efforts and the municipal government supported the work with a grant valued at approximately $15,000.
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Park City tightly regulates the number of conventional chain businesses that are allowed on Main Street, but there is space for another chain as a 7-Eleven readies to open in a building toward the middle of the street.