PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Steve Blair, a Prescott city council member who also hosts a local radio talk show on KCYA AM 1490, was fired from his radio show Friday night. Blair's firing was in response to comments he made about a mural at the Miller Valley Elementary School in Prescott.
During his radio show, Blair called the mural "pathetic" and said he does not understand why there is "a black guy" painted on the building. He went on to say, “I disagree with the whole perspective that you would have a black guy painted on two sides of that building when the history of Prescott never had a culture issue."
The mural's artist, R.E. Wall, said he was forced to "lighten the skin" of one of the children on the mural. Wall says school officials told him to make the kids look like they were "radiating with happiness,” which meant fixing some of the smiles to make them more pronounced and lightening their skin.
People around Prescott have mixed feelings. One resident said, “I think the mural is great. It's wonderful.” Another person said, “I see a giant kid on there and it looks more like graffiti than it does art.”
Wall and other artists have been working on the mural, which is supposed to promote green transportation, since March.
His group, Prescott Downtown Mural Project, received a $5,000 grant from the city's alternative transportation center to paint the mural that was selected by students and teachers.
Although the mural will not be removed, school officials have ordered that it be altered. Members of the community who oppose changes have planned a protest at the school on Saturday.
Blair responds in an interview with the Prescott News: