Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2018

Pinckney School tunnel defaced in ‘heartbreaking’ act of vandalism

Pedestrians use the underground tunnel below Sixth Street connecting the Pinckney and Old West neighborhoods, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. The tunnel and parts of the mural that decorate its walls were vandalized with graffiti over the holiday break.

Pedestrians use the underground tunnel below Sixth Street connecting the Pinckney and Old West neighborhoods, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. The tunnel and parts of the mural that decorate its walls were vandalized with graffiti over the holiday break.

January 4, 2018

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Faculty and staff at Pinckney Elementary School were met with an unpleasant surprise when they returned from winter break Wednesday. Sometime over the holidays, Lawrence police told Pinckney employees, the school’s tunnel had been vandalized with graffiti.

“It makes me sad,” Principal Kristi Hill said Thursday morning. “That tunnel has been such a source of pride and a lot of work on a lot of people’s parts.”

Constructed in the 1950s, the tunnel provides a safe passageway underneath Sixth Street to the school’s front entrance, connecting the Pinckney and Old West Lawrence neighborhoods. It’s used by students and nearby residents alike, said Hill, who describes the tunnel’s recent vandalism as “heartbreaking.”

After falling into disrepair some time ago, the formerly dark and dirty underpass received a makeover in 2013 courtesy of the Pinckney Parent-Teacher Organization and several other local entities. The school’s PTO commissioned Van Go Inc. to design, paint and install a 90-foot mural along the tunnel walls, with the hope that public art might deter future vandals.

Pinckney Elementary students walk through the tunnel beneath 6th Street on their way home from school Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Murals line both walls the length of the tunnel thanks to artists from Van Go, Inc. and help from the Pinckney PTO, the city of Lawrence, Lawrence Schools Foundation, OWL Association and the Pinckney Neighborhood Association.

Pinckney Elementary students walk through the tunnel beneath 6th Street on their way home from school Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Murals line both walls the length of the tunnel thanks to artists from Van Go, Inc. and help from the Pinckney PTO, the city of Lawrence, Lawrence Schools Foundation, OWL Association and the Pinckney Neighborhood Association.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case, as one city employee discovered late last month. Hill said the worker reported the incident to police, who were then dispatched to the scene around 11:30 a.m. Dec. 27, according to Sgt. Amy Rhoads of the Lawrence Police Department. The police report describes several graffiti taggings bearing the letters “SWAE.”

“It does not appear that there is any suspect information at this time, nor does it appear there have been any similar reports with this tagging,” Rhoads said in an email.

Graffiti or no, the Pinckney tunnel remained open to students returning to school Thursday morning, Hill said. She hopes to eventually paint over the defaced portions of the wall when the weather warms a bit, but said plans are still being worked out with the school’s PTO.

Hill said the group has also reached out to Van Go about possible repairs to the mural’s metal panels, which were also tagged.

“It’s such a neat project and such a great thing for the Pinckney area,” Hill said of the school’s beloved tunnel. “It’s so disappointing. More than anything, I’m just disappointed that somebody would do that.”

The $10,000 mural was the result of at least two years of fundraising, according to a Journal-World article about the project’s 2013 unveiling. Damage costs as a result of the vandalism had yet to be determined Thursday morning.

In the meantime, Hill is asking anyone with information on the incident to contact the police at 785-832-7509.

Comments

Aaron McGrogor 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Well it's an ugly defacement of a mural, and whoever did it is an arsehole(that word choice is for you LJW). But I don't really think it rises to the level of 'heartbreaking'.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 2 weeks, 2 days ago

It is heartbreaking when someone who probably considers him or her self an artist would paint over someone else's art.

Paul Jones 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Really? They are surprised this happened? I only have a psychology degree out of a Crackjack box and this vandalism seemed to me a certain eventuality and surprised it took this long.

Bob Summers 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Free lance art, art that is unencumbered of "job lock", is not vandalism.

It is a beautiful expression of compassion for the arts.

Louis Kannen 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Offer a reward $$ for information leading to the apprehension of those involved, holding the 'Krylon-Kids' and their 'parents responsible for restitution costs.

Harlan Hobbs 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Would be interesting to know what "SWAE" is supposed to stand for. The lack of information in the article perhaps indicates that it is generic and only known to the perpetrators.

If they find the perpetrators, maybe they should be spray painted and paraded downtown and throughout the school. After all, they apparently want recognition, so give it to them.

Tim Foley 2 weeks, 1 day ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Nick Gerik 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Hi, Tim. We've removed your comment, since we don't want to provide a forum for potentially incorrect speculation about the specific identity of the tagger. Please contact police directly with any specific information related to the incident.

— Nick Gerik, LJW digital editor

Harlan Hobbs 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Nice follow-up, Nick. When comments are removed, it always raises suspicions about either the language or perhaps incendiary nature of the comment which apparently isn't the case in this instance. Clearly, in some cases, the LJW has disabled the comments section of an article because they know that a wide range debate in the "blogs" is usually not terribly enlightening or worthwhile due to rampant speculation.

Certainly, if Mr. Foley has some pertinent information, he should be encouraged to report it to the police and then let them do their jobs. I would imagine that the authorities would like to confirm the identify of the vandals, and I assume most people feel the same way.

Ken Lassman 2 weeks ago

Don't know much about spray paint and mural paint, but seems like the former has been successfully removed from the latter before due to the less permanent bonding qualities of spray paint and the fact that it is covering an already painted surface vs. absorbed into a prepared, absorbent concrete surface, which bonds better. I'm sure folks exist who have researched this and if its possible, know how to do it. Dave Lowenstein, muralist, would be a good person to ask.

Andrew Applegarth 2 weeks ago

From reading the article and looking at the pictures, I believe the mural is painted on steel plates that are mounted on the concrete walls rather than having been painted directly onto the concrete walls.

Ken Lassman 2 weeks ago

You're right, Andrew. I've forwarded some information to the Pinckney principal on potential strategies to recover the murals under the graffiti, provided by David L. My guess is that there is going to be a way to either remove the graffiti or repaint the mural.

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