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Mural removal sparks outrage

Donald Ross Scribe and his grandmother stand in front of his mural (Courtesy of Scribe).

As the sign indicates, at one time this was just the Brady District. But then came museums and the murals, and the Brady Arts District sprang to life, eliciting a sense of great pride.

"It's completely embarrassing," said Noah Roberts, describing the black eye, or rather red wall, to that pride, that happened just the other day when a mural of a rhino playing football was suddenly painted over.

"There was a complete disrespect, disregard for the artist and the organizers that brought this talent to Tulsa to do this kind of art," said Roberts.

"I love Tulsa," said Donald Ross Scribe from Kansas. He's the artist who painted it. The mural was inspired by his grandfather who played football for OU back in 1942.

"There's a lot of thought that he put into that piece," said Mary Beth Babcock.

His grandfather has passed, but his grandmother still lives in Tulsa and had never seen him actually spray paint. But this time she watched, and…

"At one point she went up to the wall and she was patting the chest of the rhino, you'd have to know my grandpa 'cause he was a really huge guy in stature and she's not a very big lady, and it just looked similar to me, and it looked like she was saying hello for a minute, and it really made me tear up while I was finishing up the mural," Scribe said.

"Just knowing the guy's personal story and what went into this really makes it that much more painful for the artist," said Roberts.

As to why it was painted over? The property manager told Tulsa's Channel 8 that while permission was granted, he was never informed what the piece would actually look like, that he'd received some complaints about it, and that it was four feet taller than it was supposed be.

"Whether you like it or not, whether you respect it or not, we need to make a statement that Tulsa values artists and their art," said Roberts.

Efforts are now underway to bring Scribe back to T-town, so that he can do another piece at another location.

"I hope it creates some conversations with the city that when we do these large public art commissions, that we make sure that art's protected," said Roberts.

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