Thursday, December 19, 2013

Signage vs. Art, Part 5

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts about classifying images as "signage" or "art". 

Parts one and two, three, and four are here:

http://mainstreetarts.blogspot.com/2012/06/signage-vs-art.html
http://mainstreetarts.blogspot.com/2013/12/signage-vs-art-part-2.html
http://mainstreetarts.blogspot.com/2013/12/signage-vs-art-part-3.html
http://mainstreetarts.blogspot.com/2013/12/signage-vs-art-part-4.html

This time up we have a story from minnpost.com.

http://www.minnpost.com/two-cities/2012/07/tough-mural-‘advertising’-rules-minneapolis-council-member-gary-schiff-wants-loos

In Saint Paul, Minnesotta, there is a movement to change the zoning ordinance to allow murals which display products associated with a business.  The linked article has numerous examples of murals that were painted over because they depicted products related to businesses.

From the article:

Council Member Gary Schiff wants to change the definition of an outdoor mural in the zoning code to allow the display of products that are related to the business inside the building.“You are not allowed to show any products that you sell in your mural, or your mural is deemed advertising,” said Schiff, “It’s really gotten silly, and the enforcement and destruction of murals has got to stop.”

The story also features a 15 year old mural on the side of a Whole Foods store which features fruits and vegetables, which are sold by Whole Foods.

More from the article:

The zoning inspectors in St. Paul try to find a way to allow murals to stay as painted if possible.
“We consider them artwork if we can,” said Wendy Lane, who is the city’s zoning manager. This approach, though,  doesn’t allow anything you want to paint, she explained.  If a mural pictures a brand name or a business name, it is considered advertising and falls under the rules for wall signs.


In a 2007 Central Corridor Development Strategy report (PDF), St. Paul even goes so far as to encourage eliminating “blank walls” and suggests murals or other artwork “to enliven the street and improve visual interest.”

This give me hope that there are more communities out there that are looking for reasonable mural ordinances.

Whole Foods mural in St. Paul, Minnesota features products sold in the store. minnpost.com photo by Karen Boros

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