Chatter across social media led me to me getting an early and nervous bus journey to town this morning. I discovered to my horror that the phone box in the Market Square painted with artwork in recent days had been crudely painted white.
This is also an attack on local artists. No application was made to Historic England for either the original artwork or its destruction. But BT have given permission for the now destroyed artwork to remain for a short period. Regardless, some mindless idiot decided to destroy it. I’m fuming.
As I wrote yesterday, we need a discussion on how our town reacts to graffiti. Is it art or vandalism? But this attack last night has nothing to do with art. It was perpetrated by someone who denies freedom of expression. That person also cannot paint. There is white paint over the highway.
Whoever was responsible should admit to the crime and clean up the mess they have created. They have committed a criminal act and might wish to turn themselves into the police.
Moe importantly, they have committed a cultural offence. They are damping down artistic talent without ever engaging with local artists.
We can’t whitewash life in this town. We are a lively community and I hope will we remain so.
Ludlow’s Mayor, Tim Gill, and I had applied to BT yesterday to keep the now destroyed artwork in place for a limited period. That permission was granted this morning, hours after the painting was destroyed by a mindless idiot.
I had thought of using the phone box for three or four murals short term a year, linked into festivals and events. But that inkling of thought has been destroyed by this disgraceful whitewash of local art.
This is the email from BT Payphones this morning:
“I’ve no issue with the quality of the artwork. However the artist who’s altered the box has in theory committed an offence! The box is on Historic England’s list of protected assets and can only legally be altered if an application is made to Historic England. And I can find no record of anyone contacting us to get permission to alter the box… We’ve no issue with the artwork and trust the box will be restored to its original condition in the near future. Do you have a date for this? In the unlikely event that a member of the public, a representative of the Local Authority’s heritage team or a representative of Historic England complains about the artwork I’ll need to ask you and councillor Gill to organise restoration as soon as possible.”
Sadly, this email was too late to stop the destruction of the artwork in the early hours of this morning.
I’m fuming. I hope you are too.