Mural Arts says it will no longer maintain Frank Rizzo mural in South Philadelphia

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Sunday, June 7, 2020
Mural of former mayor Frank Rizzo to be decommissioned

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Action News has learned the South Philadelphia mural of former mayor Frank Rizzo will no longer be maintained.

The news comes one day after Mayor Jim Kenney had the Rizzo statue across the street from City Hall removed. The 10-foot-tall bronze statue was erected in 1998, and in recent years was vandalized.

RELATED: Frank Rizzo statue targeted by vandalism; vandals spray paint 'fascist'

The Action Cam was in Center City where the Frank Rizzo statue was targeted by vandalism on December 8, 2019.

Rizzo was a former police commissioner and the former mayor of the city from 1972 to 1980, known for his aggressive policing tactics with African American and LGBT communities.

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia Mural Arts organization released a statement saying after careful consideration it has decided to cease all involvement with the mural, effective immediately.

"We do not believe the mural can play a role in healing and supporting dialogue, but rather it has become a painful reminder for many of the former Mayor's legacy, and only adds to the pain and anger.

Frank Rizzo mural defaced with paint in South Philadelphia. Jeff Chirico reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on August 19, 2017.

"We do not believe the maintenance and repair of the Rizzo mural is consistent with our mission. We think it is time for the mural to be decommissioned and would support a unifying piece of public art in its place," the statement read.

The statement continues in saying that legally because the mural is located on private property, the owner would need to approve of the removal or replacement of the mural, which has not been granted.

Mural Arts said the Rizzo mural is the most vandalized of all its public artworks.