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Graffiti or art? Fury as Ludlow phone box art is whitewashed

By Lucy Todman | Ludlow | News | Published:

The work of a street artist who decorated a BT phone box in the heart of Ludlow has been whitewashed.

The phone box before and after

A number of artworks have appeared in the town, and the majority of townspeople have welcomed them.

Working together with Ludlow's Mayor, Councillor Tim Gill, Councillor Boddington received permission from BT for the artwork, which depicted a woman on the phone painted on a listed phone box in the Market Square in Ludlow.

But in the early hours of Tuesday morning someone splashed it with white pain, obliterating the graffiti.

Local councillor Andy Boddington said he was 'bouncing' after discovering the artwork had been whitewashed.

He said: "Chatter across social media led to me getting an early and nervous bus journey to town. I discovered to my horror that the phone box in the Market Square painted with artwork in recent days had been crudely painted white.

"That act is criminal damage and a listed building offence. The K6 Kiosk is Grade II listed.

"This is also an attack on local artists. No application was made to Historic England for either the original artwork or its destruction. But BT have given permission for the now destroyed artwork to remain for a short period. Regardless, some mindless idiot decided to destroy it. I’m fuming."

Is it art or vandalism?

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A number of pieces of artwork have appeared around Ludlow including a monk and a sign spelling out the town's name.

"We need a discussion on how our town reacts to graffiti,"said Councillor Boddington.

"Is it art or vandalism?"

"But this attack has nothing to do with art. It was perpetrated by someone who denies freedom of expression. That person also cannot paint. There is white paint over the highway. Whoever was responsible should admit to the crime and clean up the mess they have created. They have committed a criminal act and might wish to turn themselves into the police.

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"More importantly, they have committed a cultural offence. They are damping down artistic talent without ever engaging with local artists.

"We can’t whitewash life in this town. We are a lively community and I hope will we remain so.

"I had thought of using the phone box for three or four murals short term a year, linked into festivals and events. But that inkling of thought has been destroyed by this disgraceful whitewash of local art. I'm fuming."

A BT spokesman speaking before the phone box was whitewashed said: “We’ve no issue with the artwork and trust the box will be restored to its original condition in the near future. In the unlikely event that a member of the public, a representative of the Local Authority’s heritage team or a representative of Historic England complains about the artwork, I’ll need to ask you and Councillor Gill to organise restoration as soon as possible.”

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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