Authorities are investigating vandalism to temporary murals near the construction site of the future Federal Way light rail station. Sound Transit says the murals included depictions of people of color, and officials suspect the damage is racially motivated.
“This kind of criminal activity will not be tolerated in Federal Way, and we will do our best to identify and hold the individuals responsible for this act accountable,” Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell said in a news release Tuesday. “These works of art belong to the people of our city and we’re going to do everything we can to protect them.”
The murals were installed on construction fencing near South 320th Street and 23rd Avenue South. Officials believe the vandalism happened the night of Aug. 20. Sound Transit is working with the City of Federal Way and its contractor to protect the murals from more damage, according to Tuesday's statement. And Ron Lewis, Sound Transit executive director of design, engineering and construction, said his agency is working to restore the artwork.
“We won’t let this cowardly act of vandalism threaten people’s ability to benefit from the important work of these artists,” Lewis said in the news release. “The artists created these beautiful murals to celebrate communities in Federal Way and South King County, and we call on the community to support the artists and their artistic expressions.”
Agency officials are asking members of the public to report any information they have about the crime.
"I enjoy making public art because it lives in open spaces where the entire community can enjoy it. Unfortunately, vandalism is the downside of creating public art,” Brown said, adding that this isn’t the first time her work, which often centers on Black subjects, had been vandalized. “Harsh realities like this are disappointing, but it only strengthens my resolve to continue creating this work."