A massive mural located on the side of the Mexican restaurant MeXo, was vandalized with white paint over the weekend.

The mural is called Aztlan and is Arturo Morales Romero's third entry into ArtPrize.  Romero is a Grand Rapids artist who has lived here since 2014 and is becoming a regular in the ArtPrize competition after competing in 2016, 2017, and now again in 2021.

Romero believes that the mural was vandalized sometime overnight on Sunday.  When he returned to his entry, he noticed that some white paint had been splashed across sections of the mural.  He believes that someone must have climbed the scaffolding and taken some of the paint he had left behind.

The mural took over 200 hours to complete and now Romero believes that it will take another 20 hours to fix the damage.

The mural "is a timeline that shows the richness of pre-Hispanic and present days colors, cultures, arts, legends, a fusion of cultures and ethnicities after the Spaniard conquest" according to the official ArtPrize description.

This is the second piece of ArtPrize artwork that has been vandalized this year after a painting was stolen, and then later returned, from its location at Mojo's Dueling Piano Bar.

According to an interview with Wood TV, Romero said “I arrived here at 6:30 (Sunday morning). That’s when I realized that the painting behind me, the mural was vandalized. I got sad because if this is happening to my piece, it’s probably going to happen to other pieces around.”

The Grand Rapids Police is urging anyone with information on the vandalized mural to contact them at 616-456-3400 or the Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

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