Midtown mural causing controversy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A controversial mural in the Glenview neighborhood has a lot of people talking for all of the wrong reasons.

The mural was painted in September, but some City Council members don’t think it is appropriate.

Now, this one painting can change the way an entire city beautification project is run.

“People are pretty divided on this. This is the mural right here. It shows roses but it also shows a zombie with maggots on him. Some people call it distasteful. Other people call it a good piece of art,”

The mural was part of this year’s “Paint Memphis” event where artists paint murals around the city for free, but some think this one goes too far.

“These kids, they see something like that. You know, some kids might be scared of it,” said Lisa Webb, who is against the mural.

While some disagree with the mural — others like it.

“I mean, this block used to be nothing but graffiti. Somebody came through and tagged every building, the church and houses. So, it`s an improvement to me,” said Jeb Myers who likes the mural.

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Paint Memphis Director Karen Golightly says that is the goal — to make rough parts of town look better.

This year focused on the area around Lamar Avenue and South Willett Street.

“Some people have been interpreting it as, you know, a resurrection of a community that has long been oppressed, and the roses are the hope,” said Golightly.

The artists mostly paint on city property. The rules are simple – no profanity and no gang signs, but after this some council member want to re-work that.

“Art is subjective. So, not every single piece of this largest collaborative mural in Tennessee is going to appeal to every person,” said Golightly.

While this work appeals to many — it could change Paint Memphis forever.

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