"A very negative stereotype:" Mural on Milwaukee's east side stirs up controversy

MILWAUKEE -- Art is supposed to create conversation, but there's major backlash over what critics call a racially-charged mural on Milwaukee's east side. Some are calling for it to come down.

"When you're walking through that alley all you see is a very negative stereotype of African-Americans," said Nicolas Lampert, UW-Milwaukee professor.

Artist, Adam Stoner, says he wanted the piece to be a critique of the criminal justice system -- but critics have called it an "unclear portrayal."

"Some of the criticism I've gotten has been maybe this image is just perpetuation of a stereotype, maybe it's a way to do more harm to a population that's already underserved and marginalized," said Stoner.

So Thursday night, October 20th, yards away from his painting, the artist invited the public to speak out.

"I want to be a representative and an advocate for what folks want to see this be so maybe I support entirely removing the mural, although maybe some people have said maybe there's just a small change that can clarify the meaning," said Stoner.

"We're hoping something positive comes out of it," said Lampert.

"This is something that's meant to be a force for good, not something that's going to do harm," Stoner said.

Stoner says he wants to be accountable for his work which is why he's open to making a change to the current mural or take it down altogether.