MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A mural intended to preserve an old band shell in a city park has been painted over because it depicted Elvis Presley surrounded by religious symbols.
The artwork, which a Baptist youth group put up, appeared over the stage of the city amphitheater where Presley made his first concert appearance.
It showed a likeness of Presley surrounded by a cross, a menorah and the Star of David. The religious symbols raised questions about whether the painting was appropriate on public property.
Carey Hoffman, Memphis administrator of museums, said the city had not authorized a change in the Overton Park Shell's appearance.
"It was decided to return it to its original form," Hoffman said.
The amphitheater is maintained and informally overseen by a civic group called Save Our Shell.
Group spokesman Scott Banbury said the mural was painted over Monday after city leaders complained about it.
Banbury said a Baptist youth group got permission to paint the mural as a community project earlier this month. It was not clear in advance that the art would contain religious symbols, he said.
Presley appeared at the shell in 1954 in a show that Slim Whitman headlined. His name was listed on the concert bill as "Ellis Presley."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.