The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is now home to a massive new piece of graffiti art, but it's not what you might think.
This is not a case of the Dr. Phil hopping on the street art trend, like the colorful murals found adorning businesses throughout Mills 50 and the Milk District. This isn't a Banksy, a Mark Gmehling or even an Andrew Spear that the center has acquired.
In the early-morning hours of Saturday, March 28, the center was maliciously hit by graffiti taggers – or "bombed," as street-art slang has it. It's unclear whether this was a random act of spray-can violence, or if attendees of one of the shows presented on the evening of March 28 were moved to express themselves after attending a particularly affecting performance.
"When I saw the acrobats of Shen Yun give each other perfect haircuts while flying through the air, I was gobsmacked, sure," says Eva Spell, who was in the audience for the Chinese dance troupe's Friday-night performance. "But it didn't make me want to spray-paint a review 10 feet high on the wall."
Sources at the center who prefer to remain nameless, as they are not authorized to speak about this incident, suspect opera fans. Also on Friday night, Florida Opera Theatre performed Mozart's Così Fan Tutte. Could the gutter humor of this opera buffa have stirred up this amount of trouble?
One theory advanced by an anonymous staffer is that, rather than a reaction to Mozart's crudities, the graffiti artists were so moved by the Thomas Thorspecken painting used by FOT in marketing materials for the show that they decided to challenge him to a "skills battle." By the traditional terms of this form of competition, Thorspecken must now "piece" the center's glass walls (paint his own work in the same space) within the week if he wants to be the "king" — otherwise, he'll just be a "toy."
Adding insult to the extensive injury, the graffitists tagged the building with the dreaded "DPAC"– an early moniker for the project which press materials distributed at the Dr. Phillips Center opening expressly forbade reporters from using. Who's the toy now?Editor's note: This story was published on April 1, 2015. April Fools Day. Yes, it was just a joke. Thanks for playing along.