Plans for a Civil War Mural have been pulled just weeks from going up in Downtown St. Joseph.
“In light of the national tragedy in South Carolina and some local concerns that have been voiced the committee that is responsible for the commissioning has decided to pull that project,” said Rhabecca Boerkircher, St. Joseph Downtown Partnership Executive Director.
In recent days, the Confederate flag has become a flashpoint since the deaths of nine black people last week in a South Carolina church by a white man in a shooting police said was racially motivated. The mural was planned to go up in July on the Ballinger Building near 7th and Edmond Streets. It would have depicted several scenes from St. Joseph’s Civil War History. The mural would not have shown an image of the confederate flag.
“Obviously it was never our intent to offend anyone, we simply wanted to do a historically accurate mural depicting a huge part of St. Joe’s history,” Boerkircher said. “Unfortunately, there were some people that didn’t take it that way.”
She said a group of individuals sent out a Hoax Press Release that created controversy around the mural.
“We wanted this to be a positive thing for St. Joe, worked with local historians, wanted to depict a historically accurate portrayal of what transpired in St. Joe during the Civil War and obviously that’s not going to happen now,” Boerkircher said.
She said the artist that was commissioned for the project has also taken heat off of this piece.
“I’ve seen some things on social media that have me really concerned,” she said. “Like, ‘it’s his personal agenda.’ ‘He’s trying to push his personal agenda on St. Joe’ and that is just not true. There has never been a nicer person to work with than Sam Welty on these murals and he doesn’t have a personal agenda. It’s not his view and it’s just unfortunate that some people have chosen to make him a target.”
Welty was also commissioned for previous work by the Downtown Partnership.
Boerkircher said there is no current plan for a new mural to go up at the location.
Nadia Thacker, KFEQ, contributed this story