The piece is funded by the Tacoma Art Commission and was completed in March of 2020.
TACOMA, Wash. — Off East McKinley Avenue in Tacoma, on the side of a Christian ministries building, is a mural that’s supposed to remind us we’re all in this together.
“When you put yourself in the butterfly wings it’s like you are part of Tacoma itself,” said artist Gerardo Pena.
The piece was funded by the Tacoma Art Commission and was completed in March of 2020. It’s the work of Mexican-born artist Gerardo Pena, aka “Periko the Artist.” He never expected it would be defaced.
Surveillance video captured someone, armed with black paint – painting over the children’s faces.
“They are just clearly frustrated and angry at something – at the world maybe – I don’t know. At the diversity of our community,” Pena said.
Pastor Lenall Battle runs Unity Christian Ministries, located inside the building where the mural was painted.
“When I saw this it was like, who would do something like this? Especially when you’re looking at children’s faces,” Battle said.
The pastor filed a police report and is leaving the rest up to investigators. Meanwhile, they’re raising money to repaint the damage done in just a couple of minutes.
“It doesn’t put a damper on anything. We’re in the community to help and we’ll continue to do whatever we can and encourage however we can in the community,” Battle said.
It’s a reminder that beauty can come from pain.
“It’s bittersweet, you know. It’s sad that we still live in this world where there is so much hatred for one another but also very wholesome that the community supported me so much,” Pena said.
Tacoma Police confirmed a report was filed, but have yet to say if anyone has been identified or if charges will be filed.