Half a mural leaves entire Seminole Heights neighborhood in shock

TAMPA (WFLA) – What do you do when half a mural goes missing?

Who exactly do you call?

The paint police, perhaps?

Maybe alert the art authorities?

An unusual predicament, for sure, in this Seminole Heights neighborhood.

Turns out, this whodunnit has already been solved. The person responsible is not exactly who you’d think would be behind this curious caper. In fact, the disappearance of this design is being described as, “an honest mistake.”

So, who was it?

A city worker.

The code enforcement team in charge of graffiti removal for the city of Tampa showed up at River and Louisiana on Thursday and began pressure washing the pavement, taking with it the eclectic, geometric design known as, the “Mandala.”

The city claims that the employees were assigned to clean up graffiti.


When nearby residents saw what was happening, they panicked.

They ran out of their homes.

They begin waving their arms, screaming, “NO, stop!”

The city worker did just that and halted the process immediately, leaving behind an unusual-looking shape.

“How could someone mistake this for graffiti? This is clearly a geometric design. It is art,” one woman told News Channel 8.

One man walked by and shook his head as he looked at the mural in the middle of the road, now left with only half the design.

The colorful creation was commissioned in July of this year, costing roughly $5,000 and beloved by residents.

“This is why we picked the Seminole Heights neighborhood,” one mom told explained. “The quirky artwork and unique surroundings. I can’t believe someone thought this was graffiti. There’s even a plaque right next to it.”

There is a historical marker directly in front of the mural.

The marker states:

“The mandala seen before you has been officially recognized as Tampa’s first street mural. This artistic endeavor was made possible through the combined efforts of the city of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the South Seminole Heights Civic Association. The design by artist Catherine Thomas was selected by the South Seminole Heights community and painted by local residents on July 15, 2017.”

The city has promised to rectify the situation, although it is not yet known whether the art will be painted over with a new design to be created from scratch, or if this the remaining art will be extended in some way to complete the mural.

The city said it was an “unfortunate mistake” and they will work to restore the design.

Tampa’s response:

“This was an unfortunate mistake by the City’s code enforcement team looking to clean up graffiti. They were unaware that this was an authorized installation. The City will be back out to try and correct the damage over the next few days. If we are unable to do so, we plan to commission an artist to restore the design,” said Christina D. Barker, special assistant to the mayor.

Follow Melanie Michael on Facebook


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