Fed up with graffiti, RIDOT paints over highway mural

Tired of cleaning up graffiti, RIDOT painted over an iconic mural along I-95.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Crews for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation have painted over and removed a whimsical mural that adorned a wall next to I-95 in Providence, located below a church and across the highway from the state offices. The decision came after the mural had been repeatedly defaced by graffiti since it was first put up in 2013.

The mural was designed by Rhode Island School of Design graduate David Macaulay, the award-winning author and illustrator behind works including the book “The Way Things Work” and sequels.

The DOT said Tuesday the mural was removed July 8, after too much graffiti had accumulated, too often. The department had had the mural cleaned over and over again over the years following defacement incidents.

Macaulay told the Providence Journal in 2013 it was the first time he’d been commissioned to design a mural. It was part of a project created during the administration of Gov. Lincoln Chafee to take advantage of highway canvases. But this month, Macaulay acknowledged the area had been long-plagued by taggers and there was the potential for an “endless battle back and forth.”