LETTER: Thinly Veiled Racist Comments about Putnam Ave Mural are Disturbing

Submitted by Monica Prihoda. (While I am an RTM representative from Old Greenwich District 6 the opinion expressed below is my own and not that of the RTM.)

To The Editor:

Tonight the RTM – your representatives from each of Greenwich’s 12 districts – will vote on the “Pollinator Pathway Mural.” This work in progress is a $25,000 gift from the Greenwich Botanical Society to the Conservation Commission for the purpose of raising public awareness on the value of pollinators. 

The mural depicts birds, bees and flowers and is being painted on an otherwise ugly gray cement wall at a bus station on East Putnam Avenue across from GHS – at no cost to the Town. Greenwich High School students will have an opportunity to participate in an all around wonderful, educational and beautifying experience.

As a precedent for RTM/town government approvals of public art, there are at least 30 pieces of art around Town – for example the iron horses in a park in Cos Cob, the statue in front of the Greenwich Public Library- that did not need RTM involvement.

What disturbs me as a citizen, resident, and RTM member are some of the comments opposed to the mural which strike me as thinly veiled racist comments by both members of the RTM and Town residents:  “tropical style,”  “future murals may portray starving Africans,”  “this is not an inner city urban setting,” and the like.

While there will never be unanimous agreement on what constitutes “art” this project is in my view a worthy one in it’s educational component for everyone and particularly one that gives hope to the next generation who will inherit the world we give them.

I will vote YES.

Monica Prihoda