A mural in north Wichita celebrating immigration has been vandalized for the second time in about six weeks.
Someone painted swastikas on the mural at 21st and Park Place late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, said Armando Minjarez, leader of an organization called ICT Army of Artists. The group is a collection of creative people – including writers, musicians and filmmakers – collaborating on public art projects in north Wichita.
“We all feel like it was a hate crime,” Minjarez said of the swastikas painted on the mural.
It’s not the only location tagged with swastikas and other offensive words or symbols recently, he said. Someone painted “Kill All Jews” on an office building near Seneca and 31st South last week, and Minjarez said other examples of vandalism have been found around the city.
After comparing photographs of the taggings around Wichita, he said, “it seems like it’s the same person or group of people that is doing this.”
The mural celebrating immigration was tagged with racist graffiti on the same day in mid-February that an organizational meeting of ICT Army of Artists was held at the Bluebird Arthouse in the Delano neighborhood. The latest incident occurred while the group is holding a training retreat for 20 artists to develop community engagement projects to be painted throughout north Wichita later this year.
“It’s not a coincidence at all,” Minjarez said of the timing.
After vandals desecrated the mural in February, volunteers repainted the marred portions and then applied a clear coat, he said. That will allow the latest round of graffiti to easily be washed away.