[Updated: Monday, June 12, 5:45pm] A representative of St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights has confirmed that the college is not merging with St. Francis Xavier School in Park Slope as previously reported, and has no involvement with the mural’s removal. See full update here.
BKLYNER spoke with Carolyn Erstad, a spokesperson for St. Francis Xavier School, on Friday regarding the school’s response to the backlash regarding the removal of the Dixon’s Bike Shop mural which has adorned a wall on the school’s property for 40 years.
“Neighbors had raised concerns over the condition of the wall. The paint was peeling and some of the bricks were loose,” Erstad said. “School officials felt they were doing the responsible thing, in terms of public safety, by removing the paint and repairing the structure. They are sorry to anyone in the community who is disappointed.”
Erstad provided the accompanying photos showing the state of the wall before the school made repairs and painted over the mural at the end of May.
“The school does intend to repaint the wall and create a new mural that will enrich the community,” she adds. “They plan to have the students get involved in the project.”
Erstad insists that the new artwork will not be an advertisement announcing the school’s merger with St. Francis College and could not confirm if the merger is true. When asked on Friday where the Dixons heard about the merger rumor, David Dixon couldn’t recall, but said he thinks his family might have heard about it from the former principal of the school.
St. Francis Xavier’s current principal reached out to Dixon’s Bicycle Shop on May 20 via email to inform them that the wall had to be repaired and the mural replaced, according to Erstad. She says the shop did not respond to the message.
Dixon is not sure whether the store received the email and could not confirm receipt of it. The school made the repairs and covered up the mural ten days later.
The school has been planning the removal of the mural for several years and the former principal had mentioned this to the Dixons, according to Erstad. David Dixon did mention this to BKLYNER on Wednesday, June 7, but added that nothing ever became of those early talks with the former principal.