LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of local kids, staff members and a local artist worked together to create a mural inside a Lake Oswego school. But this summer it was painted over.
Parents are upset, and the principal now admits he made a mistake when he decided to have the mural painted over rather than removed from the wall.
Three years ago the Bryant Elementary School PTA paid artist Betsy Reid — who owns a local art studio — $4,800 to create the mural design, according to The Oregonian. The design was created using the hand-prints of the children at the school and was painted on plywood in late 2010.
The plywood was mounted to a wall in the Bryant Elementary gymnasium and dedicated in January 2011. It commemorated a sort of “final goodbye” to then Bryant Elementary School.
Bryant closed its doors in June of 2012, and re-opened this past fall as part of the new Lakeridge Junior High. Then, this summer, the mural was painted over — as part of the principal’s effort to build the new school’s identity.
“I didn’t realize how much significance it had to the Bryant community,” Lakeridge Junior High Principal Kurt Schultz told KOIN 6 News Monday. “And, had I recognized that, I think I would’ve made a different set of decisions.”
That’s because he’s realizing now how much the painting meant to Bryant students and their parents.
“Ultimately I made a decision that was ill-informed,” Schultz said. “I should have inquired more broadly; I should’ve asked more folks about the history of the mural … So I made the call to paint over it with incomplete information.”
KOIN 6 News visited the artist at her home studio in Lake Oswego. Reid did not want to talk on camera. However, she did say the mural at this point can’t be unpainted over.
“It’s one of those things that I can’t un-ring that bell,” Schultz said, “but if I could go back and do it again differently I would.”
– KOIN Reporter Tim Becker contributed information to this report.