High School Black Lives Matter Artwork Defaced With Gray Paint Covering Up 'BLM' and 'Equity'

A California high school's Black Lives Matter artwork was found defaced with gray paint covering up the words "Black Lives Matter" and "Equity" Tuesday morning.

The vandalism, which is being investigated by police, occurred at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley of Marin County on an art installation titled Perspectives: Past, Present and Future, which is made up of three painted doors and two of the three were targeted, the Marin Independent Journal reported.

"This is a destructive act, and will not be tolerated. We stand in solidarity with the artists and community members in unequivocally denouncing this act of vandalism," Mill Valley Mayor John McCauley told the Journal.

Mill Valley: A social justice art piece “Perspectives: Past, Present and Future” was vandalized over the weekend. The words “equity” and “Black Lives Matter” inside a rainbow heart were covered in grey paint. @MillValleyPD is investigating, looking at surveillance cameras nearby. pic.twitter.com/ZQ1LOVHFv7

— Lorenzo Morotti (@Enzomorotti) June 1, 2021

Investigators are reviewing surveillance footage and believe that the art installation was defaced between 2 p.m. Monday and the early hours of Tuesday, Mill Valley Police Lt. Jacqueline Graf-Reis told the Journal.

"That's what we're looking at right now. I don't know how to calculate the damage because with artwork like this it's different. It takes time and labor," Graf-Reis said.

The police said they are taking this incident very seriously and "will be pursuing charges related to a hate crime as well as vandalism on those involved," in a Thursday media release provided to Newsweek by Lt. Lindsay Haynes.

Zoe Fry, the art installation's curator, reported the destruction of the piece to police Tuesday morning after students discovered it.

She believes that the words covered with gray paint were specifically targeted.

"It feels like a hate crime," Fry told the Journal and noted that the paint was not randomly thrown on the piece.

Perspectives: Past, Present and Future is meant to represent historical racism, current racism and a future towards equity in Marin County, according to the Journal.

On the piece's "present" door, gray paint was found covering a rainbow heart and the words "Black Lives Matter."

"Equity" was found covered by gray paint on the "future" door.

"If it was trolling or racism that they tried to convey, it's completely unacceptable," said Indigo Eatmon, who is 17 and a Black student at the high school, to the Journal. "Whoever did it, a student or an adult, it goes to show that Mill Valley and the Tamalpais community is not as accepting and open minded, or a safe place for students of color as people try to make it out to be."

This is not the first time the high school has experienced graffiti of a similar nature.

In 2017, the high school's first Black principal, JC Farr, was targeted by racist graffiti that was spray painted on one of the school's buildings, according to the Journal.

Since the art installation was vandalized, the words "Black Lives Matter" have been placed over the gray paint, KRON4 reported.

Newsweek has reached out to Tamalpais High School for further comment.

Update (6/3/2021, 5:17 p.m.):This story was updated to include additional information from the Mill Valley Police Department.

 Black Lives Matter Sign
A person holds up a Black Lives Matter placard as they attend a "Take The Knee" event outside Southend Victoria Station on May 25, 2021 in Southend-on-Sea, England. A California high school's art installation with the words "Black Lives Matter" and "Equity" were found defaced with gray paint. John Keeble/Getty Images