COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Vandals targeted a Black Lives Matter memorial in Franklinton overnight on Saturday, affecting more than half of the mural.
Photos sent to NBC4 showed that vandals used white spray paint to cover up multiple faces on the “Stolen Joy” mural by Katie Golonka. The Franklinton Arts District’s executive director said this piece on the Vanderelli Room art gallery – intended as a memorial to 45 Black and brown Americans killed in incidents with police – was the main target of the vandalism.
The vandals’ paint hit 28 different faces on the mural. By Monday morning, plain squares of color covered up what the vandals had done.
The artist Golonka created “Stolen Joy” in the summer of 2020, while civil unrest over the death of George Floyd was at its peak, according to the Franklinton Arts District. It has been a front-facing staple of the Vanderelli Room in the two years since, up until it was hit with white paint.
“Stolen Joy” also wasn’t the only art piece on the Vanderelli Room that was painted over in the vandalism.
A Google Maps photo showed what the mural looked like before being vandalized.
The Franklinton Arts District’s executive director shared a statement regarding the “Stolen Joy” vandalism.
“We are deeply saddened by the most recent vandalism displayed at The Vanderelli Room … And other artists whose work was vandalized represent the values of inclusion that we advocate for in the Franklinton Arts District. We stand together as a community and will not let the hate of others silence the message that there is an outbreak of racism in our country. The outpouring of support for the Vanderelli Room is a sign that art can impact culture in a positive way.”Franklinton Arts District
NBC4 also reached out to the gallery’s owner for comment, but did not heard back as of noon Monday.