After parents complain, CPS halts mural removal program - Fox 2 News Headlines

After parents complain, CPS halts mural removal program

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Chicago Public Schools employees have pulled back on a plan to remove 80-year-old murals from a school that is closing.

CPS has more than 400 murals and other pieces of art from the Works Project Administration, which was a jobs program created by FDR in 1933 for people who were out of work.

Parents were outraged on Thursday when workers started taking down murals at Lyman Trumbull Elementary on Chicago's Far North Side. Their reason was two-fold: parents are worried about whether the murals are being properly cared for, and they're not happy that their kids, whose school is closing, are watching the building being dismantled around them.

"I don't have a lot of confidence in CPS's ability to take care of the living children that are being affected by these closures and I don't have much more confidence that they can take care of the historical artifacts either frankly," said CPS parent Cassie Cresswell.

A Lane Tech teacher started the mural preservation project in 1994, and the Chicago Conservation Center spent two years finding and documenting what is now a collection of 400 murals. The CPS WPA collection is the largest remaining collection of early 20th century murals in the country. For decades, hundreds of thousands of students have attended school in the shadows of these works of art.

"Alumni from way back come in a look for the art work," said Wentworth Elementary Principal Dina Everage. "It is definitely part of the culture."

On Thursday afternoon, CPS said that no murals would be removed from any schools until the end of the school year.

"When they are removed, the murals will be placed in protective storage to ensure they are preserved and secure until we determine a new public location for them, most likely in CPS schools," said Chief Communications Officer Becky Carroll.

Carroll said that CPS is partnering with Parma Conservation to ensure that the removal and storage of all art from schools that are closing is handled professionally, and that CPS hopes to have the art reinstalled in what are being called "welcoming schools" by the first day of school.

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