El Paso

City orders removal of Duranguito art exhibit citing ordinance violation

Paso del Sur: 'banners beautify neighborhood'

Crews remove artwork in Duranguito area

EL PASO, Texas - UPDATE: The art exhibit in the Duranguito area has official been taken down.

Maintenance crews removed the banners of the art exhibit,  'Uncaged Art: Tornillo Children's Detention Camp,' Wednesday.

ABC-7 was there as crews removed the banners and hauled them away in trucks. 

The Paso del Sur group told ABC-7 they plan to continue to put artwork up to "beautify" the area. 

ORIGINAL STORY: An art exhibit in Union Plaza attached to a portion of the fencing closing off Duranguito remains in place. The City of El Paso on Tuesday informed the Paso del Sur group the exhibit must be removed by 3 p.m., but the artwork was still up Tuesday night.

"It's not allowed under current ordinances to place signage on city property," City Engineer Sam Rodriguez said.

The city is also citing safety concerns.

"When we have high winds the fencing itself is being jeopardized by the additional weight."

The Paso del Sur group said it was told to remove the artwork by 3 p.m. in an email sent at 1:28 p.m.

"I think the City is trying to make sure people don't know about this historic area, that people don't know how important it is to preserve since they want to demolish it," Yolanda Chavez Leyva, a member of Paso del Sur, said. "I think they're trying to suppress that kind of attention."

Chavez Leyva says the art exhibit, 'Uncaged Art: Tornillo Children's Detention Camp', is getting national and international attention. A New York Times reporter was there on Tuesday afternoon. The banners show artwork done by migrant children who were held in the Tornillo tent facility before it closed in January.

"The banners beautify the neighborhood," Chavez Leyva said. "The narrative that the city puts forth and the narrative that they encourage is that this is an ugly place."

The City of El Paso says its demands have nothing to do with the fact that the art exhibit is in Duranguito.

"We give them an opportunity to take it down themselves and, if not, we will take it down. If they ask for the material back obviously we will hand it back to them."

The city said maintenance crews were supposed to remove the banners by 3 p.m. Tuesday. ABC-7 will continue to follow if the artwork is taken down.


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