Debate raging in Edwardsville over cost to save historic mural

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EDWARDSVILLE, IL – Around Edwardsville, Illinois they’re the tiles that tell some of the history of Madison County.

“The mural was constructed in 1967 when City Hall was built here at that time,” said SJ Morrison, Ward 4 Alderman City of Edwardsville.

In 1987 a group of Edwardsville residents, African-American, primarily but not exclusively stood up and said there is an overly stereotypical and demeaning depiction of an African-American slave and the mural needs to come down or change in some way.  I’m proud to say the city council made the change appropriately to the mural.

But progress could mean this Metro East mural is coming down and making way for a five-story 700,000 square foot structure.

And what becomes of this public art project on the old Edwardsville City Hall?

“I don’t know there’s just something cool about it.  If it could be saved it’d be nice,” said Andrew Bhagadadas, Edwardsville resident.

“Each one of those tiles is glued to a concrete block wall.  So, if this mural goes, that concrete block wall is going with it, which really complicates the situation.  We would have to construct a structure big enough to support this wall and then find the right place to do that,” said Morrison.

The costs to save the 40-foot-long, 7-foot high mural are estimated at more than $100,000.

In 1987 city residents collected money to update a square representation of a slave, and turned it into this take on a farmer.

Pictures have been taken of the tiled mural and city leaders are considering a digitized version at new city hall printed on vinyl.

What’s interesting is the ornamental artwork made up of tiles, which mathematically are squares, four equal straight sides, and four right angles.

Wrong or right, progress is promised, and this main street mural is as yet undetermined.

But using math, there’s always a solution.

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