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Third act of vandalism committed on Kalispell mural

by BRET ANNE SERBIN
Daily Inter Lake | December 22, 2021 2:00 PM

Following the third incidence of vandalism on a Kalispell mural, a concerned citizens group is upping its reward from $500 to $750 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the graffiti.

Kip Smith with Rails-to-Trails of Northwest Montana said the organization believes the third act of vandalism took place on the evening or afternoon of Monday, Dec. 20.

The mural, titled “Fern Forms,” was previously vandalized on Dec. 1 and again around Dec. 4.

The pedestrian tunnel is located on a multi-use path behind the MyPlace Hotel in North Kalispell.

This time around, Smith said, the “extent of graffiti is not as extreme, but it will require clean-up which we now know damages the underlying mural.”

Volunteers cleaned up the previous graffiti in early December. Roughly 120 community volunteers came together to paint the murals during summer 2021.

Since the first graffiti was discovered, Smith and others who were involved with the installation have maintained the vandalism was not random tagging, but rather a targeted hate message aimed at intimidating marginalized community members. Anti-Semitic graffiti in particular has cropped up on the mural and other art installations throughout the city over the past few years.

“Rails to Trails continues to work with the Kalispell Police Department to increase patrol and surveillance of the tunnel and is exploring options to install an enhanced camera system for improved safety and security of this public trail,” said Smith.

Anyone with information can contact Flathead Crimestoppers at 406-752-8477 and they can remain anonymous.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 406-758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.