BLM mural passes unanimously in Burlington, other communities struggle with controversial art


On Sunday, in between South Winooski Ave, Church Street, and in front of City Hall a black lives matter mural will be painted.

“Murals are and have been for hundreds of years tools of persuasion, they’ve been tools to develop meaningful places and in public places,” said Karen Paul.

Burlington’s Ward 6 City Council Member Karen Paul said after a mural was painted in Montpelier, she knew she wanted to do one in Burlington. So, she spoke with city counselors in Montpelier to see what it would take.

” I thought gosh, ya know that’s a wonderful idea to be doing that right in front of the state house. We could be doing that in Burlington right in front of city hall,” said Paul.

Paul said anyone is welcome to come downtown on Sunday and help paint the mural.

While Burlington’s mural passed unanimously by the city council, other communities have struggled with controversial artwork.

A public art project in Swanton by the Swanton Arts Council put up wooden walls that anyone could paint on as long as no words were painted.

Swanton’s Village Manager Reg Beliveau said the board of trustees decided to take the walls down after they created more tension than creativity.

“There was a confrontation so to speak, and there’s two sides to that story that the last painting people were basically spray painting over an individual on the face, and it was kind of like okay something has to be done,” said Beliveau.

Swanton Police Chief Leonard Stell said it all started when someone painted a black fist to symbolize the Black Lives Matter Movement. He explained that other community members found that offensive and painted over it.

“The fact is that one of our art walls got painted over, if my memory serves me correctly, 5 times in one day,” said Chief Stell.

The Swanton Village Manager as well as the police chief hope to have more public conversations and public forums to set guidelines for the art walls and get them back up.

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