Tampa's Barrio Latino Commission allows Roosevelt 2.0 to keep its Ybor City mural

05/21/13 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Tuesday the City of Tampa dedicated a giant outdoor mural on an Ybor City warehouse along Adamo Drive.

But a much smaller mural caused controversy at this morning’s meeting of the Barrio Latino Commission. City staff recommended removal of a mural outside the Roosevelt 2.0 building, but Barrio Latino Commission members voted to save it.

We heard from one of the five Barrio Latino Commission members who voted to keep the mural, vice chair Kenneth Cowart, and from Fran Costantino, one of two members who voted against the mural.

Constantino: "I'm really torn and feeling bad because obviously it's ironic that they come before us today when we are donating our animal mural project, which was approved and does have significance to our history. I definitely don't want anyone to get the impression that I'm against art. I definitely am for art and I'd like to quote Mr. Roberts when he said where they wanted to put art in the warehouse district. I think this mural and this great work by this artists would have been more served in the arehouse district or the Channelside district or the downtown, but artists need to realize if you come to Ybor city and you're in a national landmark district, then I agree with staff that you have to have something to do with the history. I mean if there was a way to get a moratorium, like, you know, get this where it doesn't have to be destroyed - that would also break my heart - but if there's a way we can approve this and then put a moratorium. I'm always the one that says 'You know, I'm really afraid of setting the precedent.' We are charged with protecting the grid and restoring the alleys in Ybor city because we are a landmark district. So by opening up all those alleys and protecting them, it leaves Ybor city open for any kind of art and any creative graffiti or anything an artist would want to do on the back of anything that's not a contributing structure. And even though it can't be seen by driving by, I've driven by there, I have seen it and it's obvious, and therefore I just feel like I'd hate to see it go. I don't want to see it painted over, but because of the fact that I do support staff and it not having a historic reference and again, I don't approve of it setting precedent for alleys and back-ways."

Cowart: "I disagree. I don't think there is a better place in Tampa for there to be murals, but, you know, places like Ybor city where we have mixes of old and new. We pay homage to our heritage through Ybor city, but our heritage and our history is not stagnant at a certain date or time and I think our guidelines even talk about how we are not set in a stagnant place and time. The mural does pay respect to Ybor city and the way it did not touch the historic part of the building. Just by the very nature that the artist and the building owner limited themselves to the non-contributing portions of the building I think pay great respect to Ybor or they could have put a giant mural over the entire facade of the building. Also having said that it is not our place to discuss what is an is not art, you know, that's for the historians to discuss many, many years from now."

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The name is COS not CONS and you have "animal" not ADAMO - please correct - this is SAD!