The iconic 'Love' mural removed from 24 and the Lake

The iconic ‘Love’ mural removed from 24 and the Lake

It was what many saw as a beacon of hope at 24th and Lake, but now the “Love” mural on the old Preston Love Music Center is gone. It was the very mural that launched Aaryon Bird Williams as an artist. “Now that you’ve done this project, you can go out and market yourself. So I started from there,” Williams said. Propelling him to become a nationally recognized muralist, he says as he sees him gone, cut deeply. “It was like losing a family member or losing a child or, you know, it’s something that I’ve always referenced, no matter where I’ve been in the world, I pulled this picture out , I showed people this work, I was very proud of it,” Williams said. A piece created by visual artist Cey Adams with the help of local talent in 2015. “It took a whole community of people to put their energy into it, and that energy was still there. And it was positive energy” , did he declare. Painting a word on the former Preston Love Jazz and Arts Center, capturing future hope for North Omaha while paying homage to the past. “This arts community is really their biggest piece, you know from Preston’s love to now, the arts are what makes North Omaha, North Omaha is what makes Omaha,” Williams said. Beyond the red and yellow paint, Williams said it’s about maintaining a legacy. “As a muralist, what you leave behind your murals is one thing and it’s part of your existence,” he said. In a statement, Deputy Director of Town Planning William Lukash said: “The iconic ‘Love’ mural had to be removed.” Lukash said: “The building suffered from water damage.” He added: “The water affected the mortar between the bricks where the mural was painted.” If left untreated, “it could have affected the integrity of the wall itself,” Lukash said. Originally built in 1910, today it is the future site of the North Omaha Music and Arts Academy. “Buildings on our 24th Street, a lot of them aren’t here, for the same reasons the elements could have compromised this building,” executive director Dana Murray said. He said that Noma didn’t own the building yet, so it wasn’t up to them, but ultimately the building had to be saved. “It’s municipally owned. I think some people think NOMA is already in the building. We’re not actually in the building,” Murray said. He admits he could have explained better why the mural was removed, but said it was now a blank canvas for the future. “I think it can be fun to open it up to the community to say what ideas you have. And we choose something that best represents the community and the organization,” Murray said. Preparing for the next generation of artists, “Music, art, dance culture. That’s core to who most black people are, just culturally, we grow up with that,” Murray said.

It was what many saw as a beacon of hope at 24th and Lake, but now the “Love” mural on the old Preston Love Music Center is gone.

It was the very mural that launched Aaryon Bird Williams as an artist.

“Now that you’ve done this project, you can go out and market yourself. So I started from there,” Williams said.

Propelling him to become a nationally recognized muralist, he says as he sees him gone, cut deeply.

“It was like losing a family member or losing a child or, you know, it’s something that I’ve always referenced, no matter where I’ve been in the world, I pulled this picture out , I showed people this work, I was very proud of it,” Williams said.

A piece created by visual artist Cey Adams with the help of local talent in 2015.

“It took a whole community of people to put their energy into it, and that energy was still there. And it was positive energy,” he said.

Painting a word on the former Preston Love Jazz and Arts Center, capturing future hope for North Omaha while paying homage to the past.

“This arts community is really their biggest piece, you know from Preston’s love to now, the arts are what makes North Omaha, North Omaha is what makes Omaha,” Williams said.

Beyond the red and yellow paint, Williams said it’s about maintaining a legacy.

“As a muralist, what you leave behind your murals is one thing and it’s part of your existence,” he said.

In a statement, Deputy Director of Town Planning William Lukash said: “The iconic ‘Love’ mural had to be removed.”

Lukash said: “The building suffered from water damage.” He added: “The water affected the mortar between the bricks where the mural was painted.”

If left untreated, “it could have affected the integrity of the wall itself,” Lukash said.

Originally built in 1910, today it is the future site of the North Omaha Music and Arts Academy.

“Buildings on our 24th Street, a lot of them aren’t here, for the same reasons the elements could have compromised this building,” executive director Dana Murray said.

He said that Noma didn’t own the building yet, so it wasn’t up to them, but ultimately the building had to be saved.

“It’s municipally owned. I think some people think NOMA is already in the building. We’re not actually in the building,” Murray said.

He admits he could have explained better why the mural was removed, but said it was now a blank canvas for the future.

“I think it can be fun to open it up to the community to say what ideas you have. And we choose something that best represents the community and the organization,” Murray said.

Preparing for the next generation of artists, “Music, art, dance culture. That’s core to who most black people are, just culturally, we grow up with that,” Murray said.

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