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Murals go up and down in Hudson Valley

Jun 22, 2020 6:33 am
Protests continued across the nation and throughout the Hudson Valley this weekend, with several hundred people crossing from both the Catskill and Hudson sides of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, and meeting in the middle. There were other actions over the weekend in Cairo, Chatham, Albany, Troy, Ellenville, and Beacon. This week one symbolic mural went up in Kingston, and another came down in Red Hook. The Daily Freeman reports that a "Black Lives Matter" mural was painted by Jalani Lion, Dina Kravtsov, and Mat Schulze on Broadway in Midtown Kingston. The mural depicts the faces of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery, and covers the front and side of 695 Broadway, a building owned by Radio Kingston Corp., which operates radio station WKNY. Lion hopes the mural, “can provoke thought and emotion on this country’s recent deaths” and “can serve as a symbol for positive change in the country, as well as the city of Kingston.” In Red Hook, someone painted over the "Harvest Past" mural at the southeast corner of East Market Street and Broadway, the Hudson Valley News reports on Facebook. The mural was painted in 1996 by Andres San Millan, a Red Hook resident. It depicted a farming scene from more than a century ago, with a woman pushing a cart. San Millan said the mural was based on a photo taken in 1899 depicting the Livingston family's mill in Red Hook. The Livingston family owned slaves, and some think the barefoot woman in the mural represents a slave. The artist does not, though, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. "The fact that the skin color on that face is dark is not intentional. That’s what I was able to do at that time... There are a lot of variables that come into play. I was painting my mother. The person that was coming out of my brush was my mother. I couldn't help it. I couldn't help the color. That was totally accidental," San Millan said. The Northern Dutchess branch of the NAACP last week called for the mural to be removed and changed. An online petition for changing the mural said, "We are not asking for a blank wall." But photos now show that the mural has been painted over as a blank wall. In Catskill, 668 people have signed an online petition to add a "Black Lives Matter" mural to a public street in that town, like the ones promised in Hudson and Schenectady, and already painted in Albany and Washington D.C. This week there are a few now-weekly protests, including demonstrations in Chatham, Kingston, and Ghent at 4:30 p.m. June 24. There are also Pride-related protests and marches on June 27 in Albany and Schenectady, and June 28 in Newburgh.
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