El Leñador Murals Win Support of Cherokee Station Business Association


Tagged-up dumpster across from 3124 Cherokee St.
  • Tagged-up dumpster across from 3124 Cherokee St.
The Cherokee Station Business Association voted 14 to zero last night to write a letter of support for the new graffiti-art murals on El Leñador at 3124 Cherokee St. (Technically, the building sits outside the CSBA's zone, but not by much).

The murals have stirred up quite a debate in this burgeoning neighborhood about the nature of art and private property rights;  someone has even filed a complaint with the city, Daily RFT has confirmed. But the consensus at the meeting was one of support -- not necessarily of the art itself, per se, but rather, of El Leñador's right to even attempt it.

New mural work on west wall of 3124 Cherokee St. - PHOTO BY NICHOLAS PHILLIPS
  • Photo by Nicholas Phillips
  • New mural work on west wall of 3124 Cherokee St.

"It's eye-catching," said board member Angelo Stege, pointing out the building's odd pedigree as former German banquet hall turned Mexican restaurant/concert venue. "It represents Cherokee perfectly and how strange it is. And I believe we should stand behind each other as much as possible, so I personally support the mural. Then, if the owner wants to change something, it's between him and that artist."

Indeed, the the project's organizer, Jenn Carter of Aisle 1 Gallery, told those assembled she wants a letter of support to show Ruben Alejandre, the property manager who gave his consent to the work, that neighbors had his back (he didn't attend the meeting; neither he nor bar manager Johnny Vegas have chosen to comment to Daily RFT). Carter added she wants him to be happy with the work.

Another reason she wants a support letter, she said, was to help stave off removal by Brightside St. Louis, the quasi-public entity that removes graffiti if someone lodges their displeasure.

"It's so much more interesting now," said Jeff Vines, co-founder of Stylehouse, which sits a block away from El Leñador. "Before it was one of the most unsightly edifices, and now it's one of the coolest. We don't want to go back to the blank wall. If it's this or nothing, then definitely I support it."

There seemed to be some displeasure among attendees that a huge trash bin across the street  was tagged up (see below), but that was left unresolved and didn't seem to sway the vote.
New mural work on west wall of 3124 Cherokee St.
  • New mural work on west wall of 3124 Cherokee St.

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