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Wednesday, August 5, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Black Lives Matter mural defaced with red, white and blue paint

UPDATED: Wed., July 29, 2020

The word “Black” in the Black Lives Matter mural at 244 W. Main Ave. in downtown Spokane was splattered with white, blue and red paint sometime before being noticed on Wednesday.  (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The word “Black” in the Black Lives Matter mural at 244 W. Main Ave. in downtown Spokane was splattered with white, blue and red paint sometime before being noticed on Wednesday. (Jesse Tinsley/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

A Black Lives Matter mural on a downtown advertising agency’s building was defaced Wednesday when vandals splashed red, white and blue paint across the word “black.”

In less than an hour, community members contributed over $3,000 to repair what had been damaged.

The massive mural at 244 W. Main Ave. in downtown Spokane went up last month in the wake of nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd.

Local arts nonprofit Terrain selected 16 Spokane artists of color to each design one letter of the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

The result was a gigantic patchwork of artistic styles and messages, visible from blocks away.

“It took dozens of people working with love to make this project happen, and only one or two filled with hate to deface it,” read a post on Terrain’s Facebook page Wednesday afternoon. “If the vandals wanted to inspire sadness and anger, they’re going to be terribly disappointed. We are filled with joy, love and determination. And we will not be silenced.”

Terrain co-founder Luke Baumgarten started a fundraiser for the organization on Facebook after the defacement was discovered Wednesday afternoon.

Within an hour, the post had been shared nearly 100 times and more than $3,000 had been donated.

Baumgarten told The Spokesman-Review Wednesday afternoon that the paint seemed dry when the vandalism was discovered, and given the heavy foot traffic around that area he suspected the incident had occurred late Tuesday night.

Sgt. Terry Preuninger, a Spokane Police Department spokesperson, said Wednesday afternoon the department had been made aware of the vandalism through media outlets but had not yet been able to confirm if a formal complaint had been filed.

Baumgarten said he and other Terrain leaders would be declining interviews but provided a statement from the organization.

”We are not interested in giving more air time to hate,” the statement reads. “The mural was created in love, and we are moving forward with love. Hate will not win. This will be our only statement.”

The mural is the second downtown to be defaced in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, a mural at Shacktown Community Cycle depicting George Floyd was covered with white paint. The artwork by Spokane muralist Daniel Lopez was restored the next week after a donation from No-Li Brewhouse owner John Bryant paid for a new security system for the bike shop.

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