George Fox Student Mural Defaced
Reported by Jessica Daugherty
George Fox University (GFU) students found a mural defaced on the morning of Sept. 2. The mural is located on the back wall of Steve’s Auto Service off of East Hancock Street.
The vandal(s) used pink spray paint to write profanity across the mural. It was also egged and trashed. The painters, who are GFU art students, were supposed to be finished the day the defacement occurred. It took the painters the entire day to paint over the graffiti, which put them behind schedule and pushed back the grand opening a week later.
Benjamin Cahoon and Sierra Ratcliff, both students who were working on the project, said they were not surprised when they heard about the vandalism since there is nothing like this mural in Newberg; therefore, the chances of it being vandalized were high.
“We didn’t want to ignore it, but we didn’t want to bring negative or angry attention to it,” said Cahoon, when asked how the group responded.
Ratcliff took to social media to respond to the issue which gained the mural a lot of publicity. On her Instagram she wrote, “I’m thankful for the opportunity to do something like this and create a beautiful space in my town that everyone gets to see. God is good, and the haters cannot keep us down.” She believes the incident brought even more attention to their art as people responded on social media who had never seen the mural in person.
Reflecting further on the defamation, Cahoon said, “This shows how students at Fox respond to this situation. As Christians, we are separate from the world, if we were to let this become a block from the building of God’s kingdom then nothing is ever going to get done in His name.”
The mural was commissioned by the Rotary Noon Club. According to Cahoon and Ratcliff, it is to represent the Club’s values of connectedness and community with an emphasis on giving, receiving, gratitude, and embracing. The painters used geometric shapes, bright colors, and the symbolism of human hands to represent these values.
The Newberg community, including GFU students and professors, came to help the painters by providing food, supplies, and their support. These community members also participated in cleaning up the vandalism.
“I think it’s really cool that people came to help us, and we are really grateful for their help,” said Ratcliff. Cahoon and Ratcliff also realized the communities’ response actually reflects the themes of giving and receiving portrayed in the mural.