Black Lives Matter mural item removed from arts commission agenda

The Los Altos Public Arts Commission removed an item from its agenda for its meeting today (July 23) regarding a proposed Black Lives Matter mural to be painted downtown.

On a revised agenda posted to the city’s website ahead of the meeting, the item – listed first on the agenda – was crossed out.

Nancy Ellickson, chairwoman of the commission, told the Town Crier in a brief interview Wednesday (July 22) that the mural organizers contacted her ahead of the meeting, asking for the item to be moved to a future agenda. The organizers – Justice Vanguard Foundation – did not elaborate, according to Ellickson.

Justice Vanguard has not responded to questions from the Town Crier. The next scheduled arts commission meeting is Aug. 27.

The proposal for the mural was originally slated for discussion at the July 14 city council meeting. But the council voted to remove the item from that agenda after Justice Vanguard asked for the proposal to follow “proper channels” – through the arts commission.

City Manager Chris Jordan told the Town Crier last week that the organizers had reached out July 7 to both the arts commission and individual council members with a request to paint the mural on Main Street July 23 and 24. City staff attempted to place the item on the arts commission’s agenda for its special meeting July 9, but Ellickson asked for direction from the council first. To accommodate the organizers’ timeline, Jordan and Mayor Jan Pepper determined that the council could hear the proposed request and provide guidance at the meeting.

“Remember, the Council can only make decisions or provide this type of guidance at a noticed public meeting and the item needs to be on the agenda,” Jordan said in an email.

The proposal drafted ahead of the July 14 council meeting called for a semi-permanent mural with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” painted on the street, spanning a block on Main Street from Second Street to Third Street. City staff had recommended that the council approve a resolution that would commit $15,000 toward the mural.

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