A Montessori School volunteer’s good intentions were undermined by his glaring lack of artistic ability this weekend as several children were seen exiting his face-painting station sporting inky, unmistakable blackface.
David Kolwurst, who had happily volunteered for face-painting duty, readily admitted that his frustration at pulling off the well-known (and not particularly difficult), Batman mask got the best of him.
“You know what? Batman is actually not as easy to paint as people think. Especially when the kid is squirming and sweating and whatnot. At first I’d do the mask outline and start filling it in, but little by little, as I messed it up, I kept having to retrace and correct the outline again and again and again until it almost overtook these little faces, until finally I was like ‘Fuck it, the whole face is basically covered now anyway. Let’s just go with that.”
Kolwurst, whose daughter Bree is in second grade at the posh Upper West Side school, drew attention to the goings-on at his assigned booth soon after his second “client,” Timothy Saunders, 7, left his station in tears.
“He just wanted a simple Batman design,” said a clearly upset Maryanne Saunders. “And what he got was Al Jolsen. He’s still upset over it, and I can’t say I blame him.”
“Everybody makes mistakes,” said Carolyn Karbinne, whose 5-year-old boy received a similar blackface design. “And that is when you rub the paint off and start over. To just keep adding more paint and more paint until the kid is covered is unconscionable.”
Defending his actions that day, (which included six separate Blackface-via-Batman incidents), Kolwurst had this to say: “This is probably the whitest school in the city. And then you throw in all the Goddamn Anna and Elsas I’ve had to paint today, and it really begins to feel like an Arian festival. So is doing a few blackfaces really the worst thing in the world?”
As of press time, four of the six children’s parents had lodged formal complaints with the school administrative head, Claire Weill, who has yet to return calls or offer a statement.