Murals are an integral part of the cultural expression of a city, created by artists of diverse cultural traditions and backgrounds. The intent of a mural ordinance is to aid artists and others in understanding issues surrounding the creation of a mural and to apprise parties involved in mural projects of the permit process. Many studies have shown a link between public art, community attachment and economic revitalization, and an ordinance would ensure that artistic expressions are respected and promoted, while adhering to all federal, state and local laws related to inclusion and non-discrimination.
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Sample Advisory Policy Memo: Adopting A Mural Ordinance
The purpose of a mural ordinance is to aid artists and others in understanding issues surrounding the creation of a mural and to apprise parties involved in mural projects of the permit process. In addition, adopting such an ordinance would protect and preserve existing murals and enable the creation of new murals throughout the city. Therefore, the ordinance serves as a framework of the requirements and regulations in a city to ensure that members of the community are knowledgeable and in compliance with the law.
The ordinance would specify the standards applying to murals and help members of the community differentiate the standards that apply to signs. In doing so, the ordinance would also exempt works from the possibility of any strict requirements applied to signage in the City in recognition of the fact that there are clear and positive public benefits to street-level mural and other public art.
The preservation and the maintenance of the murals would be the responsibility of the property owner. This ordinance would not permit any type of illegal sign, regardless of artistic content. Artists or community groups who want to construct murals would also be required to obtain permission from the property owner. Since murals are also on public property, the city must receive prior permit approval from the Arts Council of the city.
Sample Mural Ordinance – City of Perth Amboy
Murals are an integral part of the cultural expression in the City of Perth Amboy. Murals will be created by artists of diverse cultural traditions and backgrounds. The intent of this ordinance is to aid artists and others in understanding issues surrounding the creation of a mural and to apprise parties involved in mural projects of the permit process.
All murals which are on public property or visible from a public thoroughfare within the City of Perth Amboy must receive prior permit approval from the Arts Council of Perth Amboy. Artists or community groups who want to construct murals must also obtain permission from the property owner. Murals constructed on public or private property without permission of the property owner will be deemed illegal and the purveyors of such murals will be subject to punishment by law. The conservation and the maintenance of the murals will be the responsibility of the property owner. This ordinance will not permit any type of illegal sign, irrespective of artistic content. The Arts Council of Perth Amboy will be responsible for administering the Murals Program.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it ordained by the Council of the City of Perth Amboy, that:
SECTION 1. Of the Perth Amboy Municipal Code which presently reads: (1) The arts council shall be the sole authority to accept or reject mural applications in the City of Perth Amboy
Recommendation- Arts Council should have in their guide (constitution/bylaws)- Include a section which stipulates grounds for denial or acceptability of applications to produce murals.
(a) Definitions- Refined
(1) Mural is defined as any inscription, artwork, figure, urban wall art, marking or design that is marked, etched, scratched, drawn or painted on any property listed in subsection (b)(1).
(2) Owner, operator, and premises are defined under Perth Amboy Municipal Code section ________.
(3) Property is defined as any public property or any private property which is observable from the public right of way or from a public space.
(b) Defacement of Property
(1) No person shall place artwork, mural, graffiti, write, paint or draw any inscription, figure, or mark of any type on any property listed in subsection (3) unless the express permission of the owner or operator of the property has been obtained and a permit has been issued from the office of the Perth Amboy City Clerk as provided herein.
(c) Mural Application Permit (1) Any person, firm, corporation or association desiring to place on any property an inscription, figure, artwork or mark of any type shall first obtain a permit from the Perth Amboy City Clerk. Applications for the permit issued under this Section shall include the following information:
a. Name and address of the creator of the artwork or mural.
b. Name, address and phone number of the owner, operator, or the person in possession of the premises where the artwork is located or to be located together with a written signed statement by the property owner.
c. Clear and legible scaled drawings with a description definitely showing location of the mural which is the subject of the permit and all other existing artwork whose construction requires permits, when such artworks are on the same premises.
d. Drawings showing the dimensions, construction, supports, sizes, foundation, electrical wiring and components, materials of the mural and method of attachment and character of structure members to which attachment is to be made.
The design, quality, materials and loading shall conform to the requirements of the Building Code, as amended. If required by The Arts Council of Perth Amboy engineering data shall be supplied on plans submitted certified by a duly licensed structural engineer. All revisions must be supplied with a revision number and dated.
(2) Upon receipt of a completed application, The Arts Council of Perth Amboy shall conduct a review within thirty (30) days.
(3) The Arts Council of Perth Amboy shall grant an application for mural permits that meet the Art Council’s technical and aesthetic standards.
(4) Approval for the construction of a mural by The Arts Council of Perth Amboy is granted for one (1) year for public property and a two (2) year period of time for private property. The permit will be valid for the specific design and onetime production of the mural presented. Any changes must be re-submitted to The Arts Council of Perth Amboy for review and determination as to whether the changes require approval from The Arts Council of Perth Amboy. This permit is revocable by the Arts Council if it is determined at any time that the mural being installed does not comply with the information provided with the application.
(5) Unless a shorter period of time has been established by official action, this permit expires two (2) years after issuance if the approved mural has not been installed, or 180 days from issuance if the work permitted hereunder has not been commenced. This permit shall also expire if it is determined that the work authorized by the permit has been suspended, discontinued or abandoned for a continuous period of 180 days.
(6) An Applicant who has been denied a permit under this section may appeal to the City Council of the City of Perth Amboy.
(d) Mural Maintenance, penalty. (1) It shall be the responsibility of the owner or operator of property upon which a mural is placed to maintain the appearance of the mural. A mural that is permitted to remain in a condition of disrepair shall constitute a public nuisance as defined in Section ______ of the Municipal Code.
(2) Whoever violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.