Workers painted over a mural Tuesday that many people had come to think of as part of downtown Ocean Springs.
The large mural on a cement-block wall at Bowen and Washington avenues, in the heart of the shopping and restaurant district, is by well-known local artist Chris Stebly. Painted almost two decades ago, it had faded from sun and water damage.
Aldermen had talked in recent months about trying to raise the money to have Stebly redo the work. But that didn’t happen.
Fred Moran and his family, with Moran Realty, own the building and many surrounding buildings.
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There is talk of having several artists paint fresh murals or other options.
Stebly is the great-grandson of Walter Anderson, the artist whose work established the Walter Anderson Museum of Art just down the street.
On Tuesday, Fred Moran texted the city: “I thought everyone understood that the mural was too far gone and that Chris wanted to sandblast the wall and start fresh whenever the funding became available.”
He said they were dealing with some issues with the building as well.
On the other hand, Elizabeth Feder-Hosey, vice president of development for the Ron & Becky Feder Foundation for the Arts, emailed:
“Arts organizations are in the process of finding a new location for the Stebly mural. This project has been in the works for a few months now.
“We were shocked and dismayed by the unexpected erasure of the mural today, but we knew this day would come eventually. Fund-raising initiatives for the mural project are under way.”
She said she is working with Historic Ocean Springs Association to find the new location and funding. She said she didn’t want people to think it was gone forever.