VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The painter of a military tribute on the back of an Oceanfront hotel met with the owner Thursday to discuss how to get a new mural on the wall.
This is the first meeting between artist Sam Welty and Howard Johnson Hotel owner Aaron Patel. The hotel is located at 5th Street and Atlantic Avenue.
The last of Welty’s military mural tribute ‘Great America 1’ is nearly gone. It was spray painted over at the orders of the ownership, led by Patel.
Critics of the mural removal are outraged that the tribute would be covered up with paint. Welty says he asked Patel about it.
“He said the city was telling him the back wall of the hotel needed to be sealed, and spots that were leaking water in needed to be repaired,” Welty told 10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox.
Patel claims that forced the removal of the mural.
Many people don’t believe that, but the two met to discuss Welty’s quote to paint a new mural.
Andy asked Patel before the meeting, “What are the owners willing to do to compensate Mr. Welty? Will you pay for supplies?” Patel would only respond with “no comment.”
The two went into the office and Welty gave Patel a quote of $35,000 to redo the mural. That includes supplies and labor. Welty describes the meeting as positive, but he had hoped Patel would give him an answer Thursday, but that was not the case. Patel did not agree to the bid, but he did not say no, either.
“He did seem receptive,” Welty said. “He seemed open to it. He needs to speak with his partners and he said he would get back with me… probably next month.”
Welty says he’s willing to work with Patel, but will not repaint if Patel comes up with nothing.
“I painted the mural at my own loss in 2013. I can’t do it again, and that’s why this quote is extremely reasonable.”
Welty is committed to painting a mural somewhere at the Oceanfront.
As Patel was leaving the meeting, Andy asked, “Mr. Patel, can you tell me how the meeting went? Why did you spray paint the mural off the wall, why did you do that?” Mr. Patel did not answer, closed his car door and left the property.