Mural painted by student in Grant, Michigan stirs controversy

A mural painted by a high school student came under fire when parents claimed it promoted LGBTQ imagery and witchcraft.

Earlier this year, a sophomore at Grant School, Michigan won a competition to “brighten up” a middle school health center, according to a statement from Grant Public Schools (GPS). The GPS says that the student has received approval to draw pictures of “smiling children” as well as the message “Keep healthy”.

In the painting are three children. A boy is shown wearing a light blue, pink and white T-shirt, which are the colors of the transgender flag. A girl wears pink, royal blue, and purple, which are the colors of the bisexual flag. And a second girl in rainbow bridal colors.

GPS Supervisor Brett Zover was the competition judge. He did not respond to an email asking if he understood the meaning of the colors when the student’s design was selected as the winner. GPS said the final mural included “some features” that were not part of the agreement, including a demonic face inspired by a popular video game called Genshin Impact, and the “Hamsa Hand,” also known as the Hand of Fatima or the Hand of Mary. . The palm-shaped design has been a symbol of good luck or protection for centuries in many cultures, including Latin America.

At a school board meeting on October 10, parents accused the student artist of promoting witchcraft by including the hand of a hamsa as well as the video game character who looks like a demon. Parents also objected to the use of LGBTQ colors.

“I put my art there to make people feel welcome,” the student artist said with her broken voice in a video clip captured by the local news station at the meeting. WZZM 13.

A man at the meeting described the mural as “hate material”.

Another adult at the meeting added, “I feel like she’s done a really good job finding excuses to stand up for the things she’s wearing. None of us are that stupid.”

Tracy Hargreaves, who has two children from Grant’s public school system, came to the artist’s defense.

“I am a conservative, right-wing, gun-loving American,” Hargreaves declared at the meeting. “And I’ve never seen more fanatical people in my life.”

“The meeting turned into a hate fest,” Hargreaves told TODAY. “Normally 10 people at these meetings, 50 people attended. It wasn’t even about the mural.” “People were talking about the necessity of praying for gays.”

Tracey Hargreaves, a friend of the student artist's family, shared a photo of the original design for the mural.
Tracey Hargreaves, a friend of the student artist’s family, shared a photo of the original design for the mural. Courtesy Chandler Morris
The final mural that caused a lot of controversy. Courtesy Chandler Morris

“I had to stand up and say something,” Hargreaves said. “It was out of control. You can’t hold gay, dear. It’s not contagious.”

Hargreaves said the student artist left the meeting in tears.

“She tried to explain herself, but no one listened. They were convinced that the hand of Fatima…was demonic,” Hargreaves said.

Laurie Donati, who works at the middle school health center where the mural is on display, told an NBC affiliate. wood tv Earlier this month she was “delighted” with the result.

“Everyone was admitted to our clinic,” Donati said. “What she (the artist) was trying to say (is) that everyone is acceptable no matter your background or who you are. You are loved and accepted and that is exactly our philosophy with our office as well.”

On October 13, GPS announced that “at the request of the requesting artist, the mural will be returned to its original form as originally submitted and approved by management.” This means that images of children and animals will remain, but icons including the hand of Fatima and the video game character will be removed.

The student artist’s father declined an interview when contacted by TODAY. Zover, school principal, said fathers day In an email, the student artist and the school board “reached a very positive decision”.

“(She) requested that some modifications be made by removing some elements that were not in the original approved submission,” Zuver said. “There are some symbols that were used to fill the void. She said the wall was bigger than she thought and she didn’t want to leave a lot of empty space.”

“I’m very proud of her,” Zover added. “She is a wonderful young woman.”

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