GRANBY, Colo. — Rky Mtn Walls has brought urban street art to the quaint mountain town of Granby, but some businesses are worried their new murals could be painted over because some people don’t like the art.
There are eight murals on eight different buildings in Granby, featuring the work of 16 artists – a vast majority of them from Denver. The street art festival began on June 19 and ends on Wednesday, and proceeds support the Rky Mtn Walls organization.
“We were trying to build a community for the community,” said Pat Milbery, one of the creators of the project. “There was nothing but positive feedback.”
But, in a letter sent to Granby town officials, the CEO of an organization in one of the buildings with a mural implied there had been complaints, writing:
“First of all, art is very subjective and good art will always create controversy, so It seems that has been accomplished,” the letter reads. “I have heard that some say we should paint over and cover these murals up as they don’t represent the Granby community or its heritage. I believe that would be a very big mistake for the Town of Granby. I fear it is would make us as a community look small minded and perhaps even intolerant.”
Milbery said he’s heard from the town that people want to paint over two of the murals specifically. One, he said, was a mural of a Hispanic woman who “happened to be the sister of one of the artists who was going through a really hard time.”
The other is one Milbery worked on with an African American artist.
On Wednesday, Granby's Mayor Paul Chavoustie dismissed that as a "controversy that started as a rumor on Facebook."
Several businesses were invited to a town board meeting Tuesday night where they were told people wi=ould be talking about the murals. That topic was not on the agenda but was addressed during public comment.
“I’m incredibly shocked by a public hearing [about] whether art should be left on a community or covered up,” Milbery said.
Krystle Moller’s family owns the liquor store that has one of the murals on its walls. She said she is “genuinely surprised by this reaction.”
“We are super thrilled to have some art there and we don’t want it going anywhere,” Moller said. “I would like to think we will have some pretty big issues if they try and cover up anything that’s on our property.”
9NEWS reached out on Tuesday to Granby’s town government, left voicemails and sent emails to the mayor, the director of the Chamber of Commerce, and the town manager.
Aaron Blair, the town manager, responded hours later and said the murals are “amazing.” He said he believes concern over them will be discussed during the town board meeting.
He did not say who invited people to talk about the murals.
Granby Mayor Paul Chavoustie responded Wednesday morning with the following statement.
"This controversy started as a rumor on Facebook. The town only offered to repaint any building if an owner didn't like their murals. We had a very positive well-attended, open comments time last night but it wasn't an 'emergency meeting'. So far there's been support for the murals and they look great."
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