A mural that was located on South Florida Avenue was removed following complaints that it was satanic.
The mural was part of the “Tapestries Lakeland” project and has been on the side of the Miller Building since last November.
Local artist Aaron Corbitt posted on his Facebook page regarding his mural.
“It is with a heavy heart that I’ve discovered my tapestry painting “the fall of Dionysus” must be taken down due to complaints that it is “satanic,” Corbitt wrote on Facebook.
Corbitt’s post also addressed the meaning behind the painting that others saw as ‘dark’ and ‘confusing’.
“My intentions for this painting were strictly personal, dealing only with my abuse with alcohol that led me to a downward spiral that almost cost me everything: my friends, my family, my beautiful dear wife, and ultimately my own life,” Corbitt wrote on Facebook.
The mural that was removed is one of five murals that Corbitt painted that depicts various Greek gods but are ultimately self-portraits.
The mural came under fire after Lakeland resident Joel Vann posted about it on Facebook. According to Lakeland spokesperson Kevin Cook the post caught the attention of Mayor Bill Mutz.
“The best I could interpret from looking at it, was that it seemed confusing, dark and satanic-like to me,” Vann wrote in response to Corbitt’s Facebook post. “In my opinion, you have many great pieces that are suitable for a public space — however this particular piece is too subjective [and] made for a gallery, not the busiest street in Lakeland.”
The creator of the “Tapestries Lakeland” project David Collins told The Ledger that he and Corbitt came to the decision to remove the mural after seeing the response on social media.
“It wasn’t about anything satanic, but it was creating a controversy that was not the intent of the artist or my goal with the Tapestries project,” Collins told The Ledger. “It saddens me to see how the piece was misconstrued when, in actuality, it’s a story of redemption.”
Collins says he’s trying to find a new spot for the mural so that it can still be viewed by the public.