West Seattle Blog… | WEST SEATTLE ART: Companies fight over 35th mural / Henderson

(Photo BMS, July)

This is what the mural on the north facing wall of the 35th / Henderson Commercial Building looked like when we spoke about it in July. Here’s what it looks like now:

A part has been repainted, while a part has been modified. All of this has its roots in a dispute between neighbors – the Birdhouse Coffee, who commissioned the mural, and CoCo et Cie. salon, who added and repainted some of it. We have chatted with the two for the last few hours, after Birdhouse contacted us today regarding the situation, followed by advice / questions from several readers.

If you are unfamiliar with the building, note that the wall facing Henderson with the mural is next to the living room, which faces the 35th, while the Birdhouse faces Henderson, west of the section of the building that contains the mural. Here’s a broader perspective, from Google Maps Street View:

The two businesses are tenants. Both said the cafe spoke with the salon and with the building owner prior to the mural project – which the Birdhouse called its “love letter to the neighborhood” – and no objections were raised by the living room until it was painted in July. The dispute simmered for the next three months. The living room says that the prominent feature of the bird mural, among other things, made the cafe seem like the only tenant. In an email to the Birdhouse and the owner of the building three weeks ago, the show wrote that “we continue to make customers believe that we have moved, closed or downsized, which is unacceptable to us” . So the salon offered, in that email, what they called a compromise, claiming that the mural could remain if certain elements were removed, including “the two (2) black colored birds, the coffee mug , the color red (sun / moon?) and the name ‘fre-mann’ on the license plate of the van. (This is the company name of the owners of Birdhouse.)

The cafe did not respond; they told us that the owners of the building advised them not to do this. The salon provided an email from the owners of the building, dated mid-August, suggesting that the two parties should work out – “we can’t decide for either of you.” The salon set a deadline last Thursday for a response, saying it would otherwise repaint the wall. Still no response, so the show made a few changes to the mural earlier this week: “Our intention in updating the mural was to add inclusivity and remove a specific branding. (We added) BLM. RGB. Rainbow feathers, so the bird was no longer the Birdhouse logo. Trans symbols. First responders.

After that, according to the show, they were threatened and their security cameras were broken. A police report has been filed. They blame the cafe, who told us they take responsibility for the cameras. As a result of this, the salon then decided that “the mural is not worth dealing with” and started painting part of it today. The Birdhouse filed a police report on this.

And now ? The salon said, “We will be working on a solution to the current situation.” In a phone conversation tonight, the cafe had no next steps planned.

–Tracy Record, WSB Editor


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