San Fransisco school board votes to paint over 'violent' George Washington mural

San Fransisco school board votes to paint over 'violent' George Washington mural

The San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to cover several murals at a San Francisco high school that depict images of slavery and a dead Native American, The Washington Post reported.

“It’s always an issue when anyone wants to remove or cover or displace art,” Board Vice President Mark Sanchez told the Post. “But there are countervailing issues we had to look at as well. We believe students shouldn’t be exposed to violent imagery — that it’s degrading.”


The 13 murals at George Washington High School, painted in 1936 by Russian-born artist Victor Arnautoff during the New Deal era, include an image of Washington standing over a dead Native American as he points to white frontiersmen.

Another shows Washington at Mount Vernon with his slaves. 

The murals have reportedly long stirred controversy, but the board’s vote follows an advisory board’s ruling that the paintings don’t uphold the school’s values, the Post reports.

Because the fresco painting was done on wet plaster, the mural is a “permanent, integral part of the wall it was painted on” and can’t be removed, according to board documents.

School board spokeswoman Laura Dudnick told the Post in an email that staff will conduct a “deeper analysis” over the summer and report back to the board on options of how to cover its contents.

The repainting is expected to cost about $600,000 and take more than a year to get done, according to NPR station KQED.