Sometime between Tuesday evening and Wednesday afternoon, vandals damaged a wall and spray painted two messages on a wall behind the historic building that houses the Calaveras County Arts Council.

The messages “Your Heritage” and “Free America” were painted in white on the exterior stucco wall, along with the letters “BF.” Executive director Kathy Mazzaferro says further damage was done to the stucco surface of the two-story wall that supports a parking structure for the probation office around the corner. A large portion of the stucco has either fallen or was removed by the vandals, exposing the original bricks—circa 1856—behind it. Part of the spray painted message covers that area and the original bricks as well.

Mazzaferro says she feels this was done to “send a message.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time in L.A., and some of the graffiti is very colorful and artistic. ...Young people with too much time on their hands tend to be more artistic. People who want to send a nasty message couldn’t care less about being artistic.”

Mazzaferro discovered the vandalism when she arrived at work Thursday morning, having left around 4:30 on Tuesday. According to Mazzaferro, neighboring business Gooney’s Bar and Grill (who also shares a wall with the Arts Council building) staff noticed the vandalism Wednesday afternoon.

According to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, the graffiti and defacement likely occurred sometime during the night and was reported the following day at 11 a.m.

Unfortunately, there are no security cameras in that area of the building, though Mazzaferro says “that might have to change.” Mazzaferro hopes that the culprits or someone who knows something will come forward.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is made available.

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Marie-Elena studied creative writing, art, and photography at University of Nebraska at Omaha, graduating with a BA in Studio Art -Visual Media. She moved to California from Nebraska in 2019 and is happy to call Calaveras County her home.

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