CHAPEL HILL – The beloved mural on Franklin Street depicting a girl playing a flute is gone. All that’s left is a black wall in its place.
“I didn’t know anyone was planning that. I was very disappointed. These things are kind of like my little children,” said artist Michael Brown. He says he was on his ladder Wednesday painting a new mural for the Chapel Hill Library when he found out the news.
“And I’m very disappointed in the way it was done in an expedient way,” Brown said.
Brown explains he painted the mural around 2001. The Lantern Restaurant in the 400 block of West Franklin Street painted over the mural with black paint after the restaurant expanded.
“There are so many people who are invested in it,” Brown explained. “You can only think that they just didn’t know. And were very eager to display their new look and indeed the place does look wonderful.”
The murals are not protected because the walls belong to property owner. The Lantern Restaurant was with in its rights.
“Save the Murals” campaign raised $1,500 to restore the mural back in 2008.
Though he says he holds no hard feeling towards the Lantern Restaurant, Brown says he’d love to see some of the more cherished murals be protected.
“I never imagined how people would fall in love with them and how much a part of the community it would really become,” Brown said.
Brown says he’s painted more than 20 murals in Chapel Hill over the years. He also travels to other cities up and down the East Coast, painting about 10 murals a year.
Statement from Lantern Restaurant