Defaced landmark murals in West Campus get a facelift

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Large colorful murals aren’t uncommon in Austin, but two stand out at 23rd and Guadalupe along ‘The Drag’ across from the University of Texas. The ‘Austintatious’ and ‘Tejas’ murals on the walls of the University Coop were painted by Tommy B and Kerry Awn years ago.

“We walked into a Coop board meeting 40 years ago and said we’re here to paint your wall and caught them a little by surprise,” said Tommy B.

Kerry Awn works to recreate a mural that was defaced along The Drag. (Ben Friberg/KXAN)
Kerry Awn works to recreate a mural that was defaced along The Drag. (Ben Friberg/KXAN)

In early 2014, they become a target for graffiti taggers. Nearly a quarter of the Austintatious mural was covered up. Now, the original artists are bringing them back to their former glory.

The City of Austin Graffiti Abatement team cleaned off a lot of the graffiti leaving enough of the original work behind to give Tommy B and Awn something to work off of.

“They were able to clean a lot off,” Awn said. “You can see through what it actually is, although it’s very grey here, very dirty. We want to bring this back to its original brilliance.”

If time and funds allow, the plan also includes some updates to reflect a changing Austin. Awn and Tommy B plan to spend five weeks on each mural. A crowd-sourcing campaign is raising money for the project.

Removing graffiti costs the city about $500,000 each year. Between October 2011 and September 2012, city crews cleaned up more than 14,000 sites with a total of 1.3 million square feet of graffiti.

They cleaned up fewer sites in the last fiscal year, but the graffiti covered more space. Those cleanups covered 1.4 million square feet.

You can report graffiti to 311 to get a city crew to come out and clean it up.

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