Recently, a vandal (or vandals) defaced the floral mural that covers a wall just off Depot Street. La Grande residents have long enjoyed this work of public art, often posing for pictures as they pass through the alley. It was disheartening to see it defaced. But the community's response to this has been amazing, and a reminder of why I'm so glad to live in La Grande.
The director of the Eastern Oregon Film Festival, Chris Jennings, first saw the graffiti as he went into work at his venue hq on Saturday, Aug. 22. By that afternoon he had alerted police and started a campaign to repair the damage. He raised $400 in less than a week, and with the volunteer help of Eastern Oregon University art alumni Jaime Gustavson and Lea Over, the graffiti was removed. Remaining funds will be used by other volunteer artists to further repair and restore the mural.
Many of us recently watched a new mural enliven Ten Depot's takeout kitchen on Fourth Street, and I couldn't help but notice how the beauty of public art can make us all feel a little better in difficult times. So a shout-out to Jennings, the artists and the donors whose initiative has restored a bright spot to our town. We're all very appreciative.