Grant High School
Artist: Carl Hoeckner
Date of Action: April 2019-November 2020
Region: North America
Location: Portland, Oregon
Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Medium: Public Art
Confronting Bodies: Portland Public Schools
Description of Artwork: According to the Grant Alumni Association, the two 1932 Memorial Murals were installed in the school auditorium to represent “ideals of education.” Although the murals contribute to the academic learning environment of the school, their representation of Native Americans spurred controversy.
The Incident: Beginning in 2015, a Design Advocacy Group (DAG) organized meetings of administrators, students, community members, and architects to discuss and coordinate the remodeling of the two 1932 Fletcher Memorial Murals in the Grant Auditorium. The Grant Alumni Association successfully fundraised for the murals’ remodeling but faced pushback from students who felt that Native Americans were depicted in a disrespectful manner in the murals.
Results of Incident: The murals will be removed and school leaders are to work with students to design a future mural which affirms indigenous peoples’ lived experiences.