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US flag mural painted at new West Texas school after dispute

EL PASO, Texas — A U.S. flag mural being painted Tuesday on a new West Texas school resolves a dispute over whether the building should feature the more muted colors of the desert.

Two muralists are working on the red, white and blue design at the Congressman Silvestre & Carolina Reyes Elementary School in El Paso. Martin Zubia and Ulices Gonzalez are doing the artwork at a discounted fee of $5,000, according to Shane Griffith, a spokesman for the Canutillo Independent School District.

A subcontractor working for the district started to paint the 313-foot patriotic mural on the building in January, pending final approval with the development company, Hunt Companies Inc.

The artwork violated the agreement reached in 2011, when the district purchased the property from Hunt, that required use of certain colors that blend in with the desert and a nearby housing development, Griffith said Tuesday.

The wall was then painted a burnt orange-type shade, in accordance with the original agreement.

Some veterans and others complained.

“The community as a whole didn’t agree with the painting over the flag mural,” Griffith said. “This is a belief that we also as a school district adhere to that the colors of our flag blend with all environments.”

An agreement was later reached with Hunt to allow the patriotic mural, Griffith said, but the district did not have enough money for the repainting.

The district and other supporters started Operation Paint It Back and raised more than $15,000, he said.

Trustees on July 13 approved the contract with Zubia and Gonzalez. Sherwin-Williams provided the paint at cost, Griffith said. The rest of the donated funds will be used for maintenance.

The mural will be unveiled Aug. 13. Classes begin Aug. 25.

A message left with a Hunt spokeswoman was not immediately returned Tuesday.

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Online:

http://res.canutillo-isd.org/

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