U. of Kentucky Faces Lawsuit over Plan to Remove Mural of State History

University of Kentucky Mural
Tim Webb/ University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is facing a lawsuit over its plans to remove a mural that depicts various parts of Kentucky history. The mural, which has sparked controversy over its depiction of slaves and Native Americans, was painted in 1934 by artist Ann Rice O’Hanlon.

According to a report by Campus Reform, a fresco mural that hangs in Memorial Hall at the University of Kentucky is now at the center of a lawsuit. Tanya Berry, the niece of the mural’s painter, filed suit against the university after it announced plans to remove the mural.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto announced plans to remove the mural in June, suggesting that removal would be an appropriate but imperfect solution.

“There is rarely a perfect solution to challenging issues,” Capilouto wrote in a statement. “But it [removing the mural] is the right one, I believe, for our campus at this moment and in the years to come.”

Berry and her husband Wendell brought a suit against the university in which they have claimed that it is unlawful to remove a piece of art that belongs to the taxpayers of Kentucky.

“The fresco cannot be removed without removing the entire wall itself. Any attempt to remove the wall with the O’Hanlon Mural puts the physical integrity of this unique work of public art at risk of shattering and being destroyed,” the lawsuit reads.

The suit goes onto cite evidence that it is nearly impossible to transfer a mural without causing permanent damage: “Detachment and transfer [of wall paintings, including frescoes] are dangerous, drastic and irreversible operations that severely affect the physical composition, material structure and aesthetic characteristics of wall paintings. These operations are, therefore, only justifiable in extreme cases.”

Breitbart News reported in June 2019 that George Washington High School in San Francisco, California, would remove a mural of George Washington that had been deemed “offensive” by students.

Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more updates on this story.

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