The school asks the artist to conceal the painting on the ground of the “memory of the animal”; instead, he leaves

MACON COUNTY, Tenn. (WSMV) – The groundskeeper who maintained the Macon County football field says he quit after claiming the school told him to cover his last midfield paint.

Shaun Trent had painted elaborate and often timely artwork on the high school football field for 12 years, and he did it for free.

But after painting a nod to “Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day” for the Macon County game on Aug. 26, he was told to cover it.

The art featured different animals on a rainbow, serving as a tribute to deceased pets.

“They ruined the artistic side, it’s over,” Trent said. “You can’t do that to someone who’s so proud of something like that. You can’t censor them and do that, especially after trusting them so much. It crushed me, it crushed my soul.

Over the years, Trent has painted a wide range of midfield artwork, from holiday-themed logos to breast cancer awareness and 9/11 tributes.

“It takes a long time to do this, I was so proud of it knowing the community loved it,” Trent said. “It was a great thing we had going on, a great thing we had going on.”

Trent said Friday morning he received a call from the head football coach asking him to cover the “Rainbow Bridge Remembrance” chart.

Initially, Trent said he would, but changed course – saying he just couldn’t bring himself to erase his work.

He also said the Macon County Schools Superintendent called him and told him to cover for him as well.

WSMV 4 reached out to schools in Macon County to explain why they wanted the art removed. We were told that we probably wouldn’t get any feedback.

Trent never thought people would be upset by the choice of art.

“I kind of looked at a Google calendar and saw, well, there’s a rainbow memorial day coming up, that’ll be pretty cool,” Trent said. “I mean the stuff I post, I never once thought of offending anyone, I never did.”

Trent, owner of landscaping company Trents Progrounds, posted about the debacle and has since received hundreds of messages of support.

A Macon County woman, Kayla Lanier, even started making t-shirts, with the words, “#WeStandWithTrent.”

She told WSMV 4 that she has sold dozens of them so far, with the proceeds going to a local animal shelter.

“It’s great, I didn’t know my art touched so many people but it’s still the little that I let down that really crushes me. Because that’s the kind of person I am, I don’t want to upset anyone,” Trent said.

As to why the school wanted Trent to cover up his painting, they declined to comment to WSMV4.

About Catharine C. Bean

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