Bolinas divided over public art at beach

BOLINAS, Calif. (KGO) -- In the small Marin County town of Bolinas is what appears to be a conflict between artistic expression and protecting the environment.

Bolinas has a long history of environmentalism. There was an oil spill there back in 1971 and many of the people that live there now helped clean up that oil spill from the bay.

Public art that has always made Bolinas unique and self-expressive now makes it divisive. Some are wondering if the paint is too close to the beach and, therefore, an environmental threat to the ocean.

The graffiti on private property began showing up earlier this week when signs appeared along the public beach, warning that spray paint violates state law by polluting the environment.

Some Bolinas residents are offended because they consider painting on beach walls as a right of citizenship.

"I love the art. I don't wish to see art when I go to the beach," resident Remick Hart said.

Hart is particularly offended by art mixed with personal signage on Bolinas Beach.

"These are nothing but pollution to our bay," he said.

Hart lives on the bluff above the beach, walks the beach frequently and constantly picks up paint chips.

He's a moderate compared with others.

"It's going to get picked up on the food chain at the bottom, the plants and all the microorganisms. It gets in the food chain and it will be in the food chain forever," veterinarian Dr. Ray Deiter said.

Deiter wants all the murals removed, including one that leads to the beach, where locals have painted for 30 years.

"It is not logical. You can't allow one certain group to paint and one certain group not to," Deiter

Hence, what appears to be these angry reprisals from unknown elements, leaving this normally harmonious town now polluted by division.

"You would think artistic expression is something that everybody could come together over," resident Beau James Brown said.

Bolinas has planned a public meeting this weekend.
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