Famous Chapel Hill mural painted over


Now, the artist behind that mural is speaking out.

The building where the mural was is privately owned. So nobody broke any laws. However, the issue is really about the time the community, as well as the artist, spent preserving that mural and many others.

Michael Brown said ever since his mural was blacked out on the brick building, his phone has been ringing off the hook.

"Everybody is calling, perturbed, upset and yeah I'm upset," said Brown.

The mural of a girl with the flute covered the side of the Franklin Street building for more than a decade. However, the restaurant two doors down is expanding into the space and the mural disappeared under its final coat of paint.

"They're doing a really beautiful, slick, design for their restaurant, very hip and the mural that was there then maybe didn't go their vision," said Brown.

Brown said this doesn't just affect him. Just a few years ago, the community raised thousands of dollars to preserve the painted over mural and others.

"So for business owners to just unilaterally decide to paint it out and say 'Oh, it's my building, I can do what I want.' That's perfectly true, but it just doesn't represent a high degree of thoughtfulness or citizenship," said Brown.

Brown said business is business, and he wants to turn this experience into a positive one.

"If people love that one so much and they love the program, let's take a positive approach," he said. "Let's do some new ones."

Brown said this isn't the first time this has happened.  It has happened at least four or five times over the 20 plus years he's been painting murals. He understands that businesses change over time, but it's always a little sad to see one of his murals go.

Late Thursday, the owner of Lantern Restaurant issued a statement to ABC11.

"When we bought the building last year, we decided to convert Lantern's outdoor spaces into gardens and green, vine covered walls. We have known Michael Brown as a friend of Lantern and customer for many years," said Andrea Reusing, the restaurant's owner. "Lantern's renovation is not a comment on his art, but rather a business and design decision that was made with deliberation. We have loved growing with and being part of the Chapel Hill community for the last 11 years and we look forward to many more. "

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