Tile mosaics at former Publix covered with paint

LAKELAND, Fla. (WTSP) -- It's covered in white paint now, but people who went to the old Publix off East Memorial Boulevard as kids can still make out the shapes that made up the two tile mosaics.

“There's the tractor,” Natalie Oldenkamp said. “Here’s the cowboy on the horse.”

The founder of Publix -- George Jenkins -- commissioned the artwork outside one of his supermarkets in 1964.

“Every little kid in Lakeland would just stand here and look at it,” Oldenkamp explained.

The Publix is now a Save-A-Lot and the shopping center has deteriorated. The mosaics stood the test of time until now. Some time in the past month, the mosaics were painted over.

“It really makes me want to cry, actually,” Oldenkamp said.

10News reached out to the company that now owns this shopping center to find out why it decided to paint over the artwork, but it hasn't returned our call.

On a Facebook page dedicated to Lakeland's history, dozens of people are commenting about how upset they are.

Many of them are hoping there's a way to restore the mosaics and save the memories tied to them.

The artist's daughter heard what happened, and tells 10News she’s sad and concerned her father’s art is covered.
 

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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