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A 2020 ordinance and a cease-and-desist order issued by the City of Lebanon have cast a shadow over an outdoor mural project on South 8th Street, across from the Lebanon Farmers Market.
The three-story spray painted artwork – a modern take on a classic Norman Rockwell painting – is on the north wall of the Market View Apartments at 38 S. 8th St.
It was commissioned by building owner Kapel LLC, and Lebanon native and retired NFL player Jared Odrick, according to project manager Emily Goodrum.
The mural is the work of New York-based public artist BKFoxx, who, despite the order issued on April 13, was at the site on the afternoon of Thursday, April 14.
Foxx and Goodrum said that they were not aware of a city ordinance passed in 2020 that requires a mural permit, review by the city’s Design Review Board, and written approval by Mayor Sherry Capello. The provision is part of the city’s zoning code.
Goodrum said that the required application was filed with the city on Thursday morning, but she was not certain of the time required to review it.
Some of the stated purposes of the mural ordinance are to “[r]ecognize the value of public art to citizens and visitors,” “foster shared community interactions, celebrate our unique stories and collective history,” and “[i]nvolve local, regional and national artists of diverse backgrounds.”
City zoning officer Tom Neff, whose name appears on the cease-and-desist order, did not return a Thursday afternoon phone call requesting comment. City offices were closed Friday to observe Good Friday.
Foxx, who prefers not to be photographed, told LebTown that she was “on a tight schedule,” and hoped to be done by Saturday.
Goodrum said the design aims to appeal to both older and younger generations, and to stress themes of “unity” and “friendship.”
When news of the cease-and-desist order was posted Thursday morning on local Facebook groups, comments seemed heavily in favor of the project’s completion.
Commenting on Instagram, local artist and music promoter Scott Church, whose studio and performance space is across 8th Street, expressed hope that the mural would be cleared for completion, saying that “[t]he city that I love would never do something like this to public art.”
Well-known local mural painter Katie Trainer said on Facebook that one of her nearby murals took three months to get approved, “but since this is already in production and causing a big scene (and that is a continuous blighted wall) you may be able to get rapid permission to do it soon.”
Trainer suggested that the mural’s sponsors “get a few of the big wigs in the city to help get the permit to push the project forward,” noting that she didn’t think the building had any historical or special significance.
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