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Less than 48 hours after an artist put up a new tribute to Gloria Casarez, the late LGBTQ activist whose mural was whitewashed by developers, the replacement work was summarily torn down.
“Someone ripped it down this afternoon,” artist Tiff Urquhart said Friday, upset but not deterred. “So I’ll be putting up another one somewhere else.”
Urquhart, a queer street artist known for her colorful wheatpastes, didn’t get prior approval from the building where she placed the image of Casarez’s face. But she and Franklin Club Inn President Roberta Kangilaski had come to an agreement, and they both expected the art would last.
“We agreed that it would stay until February 1,” Kangilaski told Billy Penn in an email. She wasn’t aware of when or how the artwork was desecrated, or by whom.
A mural of Latina civil rights leader Casarez, Philly’s first director of the Office of LGBT Affairs, lived on the wall of the 12th Street Gym for six years before. The property’s new owner, Midwood Investment and Development, suddenly painted over the artwork the week of Christmas, shocking the community.
Midwood eventually apologized, but Mural Arts said it would shun the developer and no longer work with the company on a planned replacement.
It’s unclear whether something permanent will be erected — so Urquhart decided to put up something in the interim.
On Wednesday morning, she pasted a 4-by-4-foot image of the Latina activist to the exterior wall of the Franklin Club at 205 S. Camac St. Nestled estled on the cobblestone corner of Camac and St. James streets, the new location was less than 100 steps from the OG-mural-turned-white-wall.
Now this Casarez tribute has also disappeared.