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Monday, June 14, 2010

Prescott's "Go on Green" Mural, Supported by Custom Sticker Makers

By now, the Prescott, AZ, mural controversy has blown up to national (and even international) proportions.  What's the big flap about this mural, sponsored, in part, by Custom Sticker Makers? A series of remarks made by Prescott City Councilman Steve Blair concerning the "Go on Green" mural at Miller Valley Elementary School, which led the school board to ask the artists involved to "lighten" the faces of those depicted in the mural.

Call it a moment in time, an intersection with small town politics with state- and nation-wide trends (SB-1070, Tea Party, etc.). There's plenty to be said about Steve Blair's remarks concerning the depiction of a child he interpreted as being African-American (who is in fact Hispanic, based on an actual student at Miller Valley) and and plenty already has been.
All of which led to a protest attended by an estimated 500 Prescottonians at the site of the mural on Monday, June 11th, where representitives of the school board publicly apologized and recognized that asking the artists to change the mural was a mistake. It also led to Steve Blair being fired from local radio station KYCA for his on-air comments regarding the issue.

But the side of the story that has failed to reach the media is the reason for and intent behind the mural itself: "Go on Green," commissioned by Prescott Alternative Transportation, with funds from the state of Arizona's Department of Transportation, was created to help raise awareness about an issue of vital importance for Prescott: Safe Routes to Schools for kids.

Is getting to and from school (and around Prescott in general) an issue for local kids? Less than a month ago, on May 30th, the Prescott Daily Courier reports that two brothers (names undisclosed) were crossing a busy intersection at Willow Creek and Iron Springs Road, directly in front of Miller Valley School--one of whom, riding a scooter, was hit by a 82 year-old woman and dragged 30-40 feet before being airlifted to Flagstaff for treatment. His brother, 11, riding a bike, was treated and later released from Yavapai Regional Medical Center. A third boy was apparently uninjured.

"We fully support the Prescott Downtown Mural Project and we support the Go on Green Mural," said Custom Sticker Makers president Jeff Daverman. "Those reporting on the controversy need to look beyond the ignorant comments of a city councilmember and consider what this mural is really about. We need safe, green transportation options in Prescott--for our kids and everyone else, too."


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