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Local arts organization releases statement on controversial mural

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Posted at 2:28 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 14:32:53-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The arts organization behind a controversial mural is standing behind their artist after part of the mural was painted over to obscure an obscenity.

LEX 18 reported Tuesday that a mural sponsored by the organization PRHBTN contained a hidden expletive towards President Donald J. Trump.

The piece, titled "The Devil Is in the Details," was created for the group PRHBTN in Lexington and is located on a building at Short and Church Streets. The drawing appears to show four women and a snake emerging from a can of spray paint.

However, a few eagle-eyed citizens noticed the text emerging from the mouth of the snake read "F*** Trump."

The artist, New York Based ELLE Street Art confirmed the message and said it was intended to start a dialogue.

"In America we are all entitled to share our opinion, and it’s important to exercise this right," her statement read, in part. "Let me be clear, this is not about politics, this is about expressing my anger: I am fed up!"

The words were also supposed to be glow-in-the-dark, the artist explained, so it would be a surprise and not show up during the day. The paint did not dry clear.

The owner of the privately owned building was not aware that the mural was going to contain the expletive.

Tuesday evening, a person asked by the building owner to paint over the expletive did so, but left the rest of the mural intact.

Despite also being unaware of the hidden message, the owners of PRHBTN issued the following statement in support of ELLE Street Art. It reads as follows:

PRHBTN firmly believes in allowing our artists to have and retain complete artistic freedom and creative control and the content of our murals is never censored. The works are created on private properties using funds contributed by private donors. In this case, the content of the piece created conflict not only online and in the media but at the physical site of the mural itself. The owner wished to retain the mural exactly as painted but after being repeatedly harassed he felt it was in everyone’s best interests to alter the offending text. We completely agree with him.

The slogan included in the mural by ELLE Street Art is constitutionally protected speech. We stand behind each and every one of our artists and ELLE is no exception. We will never be afraid to speak out against racism, misogyny, xenophobia, bullying, and all other forms of hatred.