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March 15, 2018

Mural Arts taking recommendations on what to do with Frank Rizzo mural

Murals Frank Rizzo
Carroll - Frank Rizzo Mural in South Philly's Italian Market Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The mural of Frank Rizzo on the side of a building at Ninth and Montrose streets in South Philly's Italian Market.

Months after Philadelphia decided it will eventually relocate the statue of former mayor and police commissioner Frank Rizzo, the city's Mural Arts program has announced it's taking suggestions on what to do about a South Philly mural of the controversial figure.

In a public feedback form released Thursday, Mural Arts is asking residents to submit their ideas on what should happen to the Rizzo mural, which covers the side of a building at Ninth and Montrose streets in South Philly's Italian Market.

"Mural Arts’ mission is to bring people and communities together through the power of art and art making — and while the future outcome of this particular artwork is still under discussion, it is clear that it has become a controversial piece in our collection," the form reads.

Much like the statue, the mural was vandalized multiple times last year. Activists who have called for the removal of both cite Rizzo's harsh tactics during his tenures as police commissioner and mayor, as well as his targeting of the black and LGBTQ communities.

The city also sought public input on what to do with the statue last year, receiving more than 3,600 submissions before the decision to move the statue was made. City officials have yet to announce where the statue is going and it still remains in front of the Municipal Services Building adjacent to City Hall,

The Mural Arts form asks whether the artwork should stay as is, be altered, be removed and replaced or simply be replaced. There is also a portion of the form where respondents can explain the reasons behind their recommendations. The form states relocating the mural is not an option.

After suggestions are received, Mural Arts, which serves as caretaker for the artwork, will confer with the city and the building owner on what to do going forward.

Mural Arts released the feedback form a day before a scheduled Facebook event in which more than 100 people have expressed interest in bombarding the program's offices with calls requesting to have the mural removed.

The deadline for submissions about what to do with the Rizzo mural is 5 p.m. on March 28.