To make room for new art, Tampa plans to paint over students' graffiti on a seawall downtown

Directly beneath Tampa's skyline and across the Hillsborough River from the University of Tampa sits what some call a work of art.
 
"I really like it," said UT student Chris Grisby.
 
"I think of it more as a mural," UT senior Ricky Hart said.
 
For those students, it's a mural representing a kind of kaleidoscope of the university’s history.
 
"It is leaving your mark and showing who's been here," Grisby said.
 
"It's just been a part of the school for a long time," Hart said.
 
While some see these expressions on the wall from rowing teams and greek organizations as art, others see it as graffiti. 
 
"This is kind of fine tuning our plans for the Riverwalk," Bob McDonaugh said. He is the administrator of economic opportunity for the City of Tampa. That fine tuning includes painting over the graffiti.
 
City officials want to put in an interactive light display as part of the future Riverwalk currently under construction. 
 
"We look at it and say, ‘What's the way we can maximize the impact of this art installation?’ And that would be to remove the graffiti so it doesn't take away from it," McDonaugh said.
 
To cover the cost of painting, the city has an agreement with Friends of the Riverwalk to split the $90,000 price tag.
 
"I don't think they should do it," Hart said.
 
But if the city has its way, Grisby and Hart will have to get use to looking at a new kind of art from across the pond.
 
The agreement between the city of Tampa and Friends of the Riverwalk is expected to be taken up Thursday by City Council members.
 
If approved, the city plans to start painting the wall as soon as possible, and hope to have it all painted over within three weeks.

 

To cover the cost of painting the city has an agreement with Friends of the Riverwalk to split the $90,000 price tag. "I don't think they should do it," Hart said.

 

But if he city has it's way -- Grisby and Hart will have to get use to looking at a new kind of art from across the pond.

 

The agreement between the city of Tampa and Friends of the Riverwalk is expected to be taken up by City Council members on Thursday. If approved, the city plans to start painting the wall as soon as possible, and hope to have it all painted over within three weeks. 

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