SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Unified School District voted on Tuesday, June 25 to approve the removal of a mural at George Washington High School.
The SFUSD Board of Education had a meeting both last week and the previous week in an attempt to decide what to do about the mural. They voted unanimously to remove or cover the painting.
The mural, which is titled ‘Life of Washington’ and depicts George Washington’s life, was originally painted at George Washington High School in 1963 by Victor Arnautoff. The mural features a deceased Native American while soldiers are standing behind him.
During the meeting, the board noted in order to paint over the mural, an environmental impact report would have to be done. This could take over a year for the report to be completed and would cost the school district $600,000 to complete.
“Native Americans have been depicted as a dying race that has been a stereotype assigned to Native communities,” said SFUSD Board Commissioner Alison Collins. “It might be art, but it can also be racist.”
The other option brought up at the meeting was covering the mural with solid panels. Depending on which materials are used, it could cost the district anywhere from $645,000 to $825,000. As of right now, the SFUSD is still deciding on which option is best to deal with the murals.