NAACP leader, mural artist speak after John Lewis painting defaced in Warner Robins

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The mural artist Kevin Scene Lewis was able to clean up some of the damage Monday, because of the rain he hopes to complete compares in next few days.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Two years after he was commissioned by Black Voters Matter to put up the John Lewis mural, mural artist Kevin Scene Lewis returned to wipe away the stains.

“I’m surprised it took this long for it to get vandalized,” Lewis said.

Warner Robins police say 32-year-old Quintin Mclin has been arrested and charged with vandalizing the Commercial Circle mural.

Lewis said since Warner Robins isn’t a big graffiti area, he didn’t put polish in the protective coat to prevent damage. He says the fact that it lasted this long shows the community appreciated the art. 

“It’s too important to let it stay like this. I can fix it,” Lewis shared.

Police say Mclin went to Ace Hardware on Friday June 21, then walked across the street and spray-painted the art. 

“I don’t know what the person was trying to say,” Lewis shared. 

Mclin is accused of painting over the letter in a quote on the mural, covered Lewis’ artist tag and drew over the civil rights activist and longtime congressman.

It brought out a crowd of concerned men in the rain, including a young father and son duo. 

“What that father was doing with their son, it’s showing the importance of community. Knowing your history. It’s affirmation to me that that young man is going to be alright. I applaud that father for doing that and taking his time to do that. That was great,” Lewis said.

It also brought out the county NAACP president, Jonathon Johnson. 

“I was very disturbed about someone who wanted to take the character of John Lewis, who was all about helping the people and wanting to grow and learn,” Johnson shared. 

He was also concerned that about the motive, since the John Lewis mural sits right next to an Armed Forces Appreciation mural. 

Police tell us they don’t know why the man allegedly vandalized the mural.

The Commercial Circle area of Warner Robins is hoping for growth, with plans for downtown development. That project means there is a possibility of the mural being demolished. However, Lewis says the painting still needed to be fixed. 

“I’ve seen the effect it had on the community, on a lot of people that come by and check it out. that outweighs anything about when this is going to be torn down or not,” Lewis said.

 As an artist, he also wants to have a good reflection of his work. At the end of the day, Lewis says he hopes this mural will continue to bring the community together and educate the public about the legacy of John Lewis. 

“If this sparks some kids mind to go, ‘let me go look up John Lewis, and look up what he was all about’ then mission accomplished. That’s what this is all about,” Lewis said. 

Lewis did spray paint over some of the damage but hopes to get it fully cleaned up in the next few days.

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