Mankato's Flood Wall Mural was supposed to be a group project by local artists, but recent, unexpected changes made to the mural have stirred up controversy.
The community gathered just a few weeks ago to celebrate what was regarded as the finished Mankato River Flood Wall Mural by the public and even artists.
Artist Michael Cimino said, "When we commemorate a mural, I think that's the public's sign that it's done-that we've done our job and we can all move on."
All four artists began working on this project together at the beginning of July. They say they spent hundreds of hours working until mid-August. That's when Cimino says he and two other artists received a strange request.
Cimino said, "We were told to cease working on the mural to allow Julie Johnson, the lead artist more solo time on the mural."
And in a statement, the Twin Rivers Council for the Arts confirmed that information, saying " Under the terms of her agreement Julie has until September 11 to deliver a finalized and sealed mural. End quote.
Cimino said, "I left for vacation thinking Julie was making her small changes. She said she wanted to change the clouds, she wanted to change the reflection."
But he says what he saw when he came back to town was more than just minor tweaks.
Cimino said, "I saw that my ends were completely or basically masked over."
While it left a sting, Cimino says it's a situation the entire community can learn from.
"It's in our best benefit as artists and viewers to move on and look forward and to take this more as a learning opportunity to become more transparent with the public about work being done."
We did reach out to the lead artist regarding her plans for the mural, but have not heard back.
--KEYC News 12.