Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

PHOTOS: At 12th And Chicon, A Mural Honoring Black Luminaries Returns

Lynda Gonzalez

A mural honoring mostly black musicians at the corner of 12th and Chicon in East Austin was painted over last May. It depicted artists like Tupac Shakur, James Brown, Michael Jackson and Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others. An outcry followed. Though the mural was only a handful of years old, painting over it — with white paint, no less — held huge symbolism for this neighborhood, which has been remade in recent years by rising property values.

“I was just really disappointed,” the mural's artist, Chris Rogers, told KUT at the time. “That one had a lot of significance, not just to me, but to that whole area. Local people would come up and not just congratulate me for doing good work and say hi, but they were thanking me for doing it. A couple of them even said, 'Thank you for bringing beauty to this area again.’ That was worth it for me.”

Credit Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A few weeks later, Rogers and the owner of the retail space that decided to paint over the mural agreed that he should paint a replacement on the same wall.

After a series of public input meetings on the content of the future mural, Rogers got to work in December.

The new mural was commissioned by the nonprofit Six Square, which supports Austin's black cultural heritage district.

Credit Lynda Gonzalez / KUT

Credit Lynda Gonzalez / KUT
Chris Rogers paints over a placeholder image on the wall where his new mural will be painted in December, 2017.

On Saturday, the results of Rogers' labor were unveiled.

Credit Lynda Gonzalez / KUT

Credit Lynda Gonzalez / KUT
Gaubrielle Pritchard carries Maria Ibanda, 4, while looking at the mural unveiled by Chris Rogers' mural at 12th and Chicon streets.

Credit Lynda Gonzalez / KUT

Credit Lynda Gonzalez / KUT
Octavis Berry Jr. and Krystal Berry stand near a portrait of their father, Octavis Berry, who died in 2011. The local rapper was included in a mural painted by Chris Rogers.

Credit Lynda Gonzalez / KUT

Credit Lynda Gonzalez / KUT
Chris Rogers at the unveiling of his new mural at the corner of 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin on Saturday.