Alumni group sues to keep controversial George Washington mural

Alumni group sues to keep controversial George Washington mural

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George Washington High School’s alumni group is filing a lawsuit to challenge the San Francisco school board’s decision to cover a mural.

The San Francisco School District Board of Education voted 4-3 to place panels over the “Life of Washington” mural in August.

The 13-panel, 1,600-square-foot art installation was created by Victor Arnautoff in 1936 and depicts the life of George Washington. It shows slaves working at Washington’s Mount Vernon home and pioneers standing over the dead body of a Native American. Activists said the mural at George Washington High was offensive for its depiction of Native Americans and African Americans.

The school’s alumni association filed a lawsuit asking the education board to revoke its vote to remove the mural from public view and conduct an environmental review, KPIX-TV reports.

“The George Washington High School Alumni Association has filed a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit to preserve, protect, and defend the Victor Arnautoff murals at George Washington High School,” association President John Rothmann said in a statement. “We are dedicated to the proposition that the Arnautoff murals should be preserved as a magnificent work of public art for future generations and used, as the artist intended, as a way of teaching history.”

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