Tempers flare over wall mural in Southwest Atlanta - CBS46 News

Tempers flare over wall mural in Southwest Atlanta

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Tempers flared in the Pittsburgh Community of Southwest Atlanta Monday.

A new wall mural on University Avenue is at the center of the controversy. 

A non-profit group called Living Walls had a French artist create the mural, but some community members didn't like it and then painted over a portion of it. 

"For when folks in this community see a big snake, the interpretation is they see a big serpent and a serpent represents Satan and when you see dragons consuming people it brings to bear the negative image of the type of destruction they are trying to eradicate," Rev. Frank Brown with the Concerned Black Clergy said.

"They keep encouraging dialogue and yet all we have is a monologue of like-minded people," Resident Lindley Davis said.

Atlanta police had to break up Monday's news conference held by council member Cleta Winslow. She said at least one of three city departments should have contacted her before the artwork went up. If that had happened she could have notified the community and prevented such hostility.   

"What city department dropped the ball?" CBS Atlanta News reporter Adam Murphy asked. 

"The city departments that sign off on it are Public Works, Atlanta Urban Design Commission and Bureau of Cultural Affairs. Those are the three entities that sign off on it. I didn't have any paperwork for the sign off," Winslow said.  

Living Walls insists Winslow knew about the mural before it ever went up and therefore the Pittsburgh Community should have as well.

"We don't want to put up artwork that's going to anger a community. We put up work to enlighten a community and to make people respond to contemporary art," said Living Walls Director of Operations Nathan Bolster. 

The artist's description of the artwork is that it's an allegory of the human city. 

Both sides plan to sit down and decide what to do with the artwork.

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