Jerry Gray: How to ensure the longevity (and legality) of public workWritten by Jerry Gray | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Many business owners and artists may not be exactly sure of how to obtain a legally legitimate mural or artistic installation permit to ensure the longevity of public work or murals. This article aims to offer the information required by City of Toledo Municipal Code 1393.15 as well as clarify the proper channels of submissions through the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo (ACGT).
First things first. If you are a business or homeowner who has a wall for a potential mural or if you are an artist who has a vision for a public work of art, you need to connect. Whether putting out classified ads in local papers, perusing through Facebook profiles, or speaking to your frequent favorite places or quirky customers, go fishing — put the idea out there, like a wanted poster on the wall. Chances are you won’t necessarily meet that person directly but through connections and networking with business owners, artists and co-workers, you probably will find who it is you’re looking for, albeit, maybe not immediately.
Once you have connected and discussed possibilities for the site and work and have hammered out the finer details of funding or bartering agreements, you can really get the ball rolling and accomplish something that affirms a bit more of a communal legacy between the property owner, artist and the community.
There is not necessarily an official city application form, but there is information that needs to be submitted formally. This information includes the a) applicant contact information; b) location information; c) property owner contact information; d) mural artist/group/organization contact information; e) the design; f) mural details; and g) a project timeline. Use these subheadings as the skeleton for your outlined Mural Permit Application.
Subheadings a) through d) are quite simple and painless. Any of the contact fields should contain each of the following: 1. Name. 2. Address. 3. Phone number. 4. E-mail address. The location information should include: 1. the property or business name (if applicable), 2. property or business address and 3. photographs of the wall to be painted.
Subhead e) is looking for two things: 1. what the mural will look like (attach a design) and 2. the theme or title of the mural. You will want to make sure that your design execution is well-received and artists should probably take a confident, professional and realistic approach in submitting a clean design that will be judged by individuals from all walks of life — not merely a panel of judges but a community of individuals.
The real meat of the outline falls under f). This subhead contains a lot of pertinent information which will allow the Mural Authority to know you and gain confidence in the project being properly undertaken. These are the questions you will have to answer under subheading f): 1. What are the proposed dimensions of the mural (length, width, square footage)? 2. What are the materials used to create the mural? 3. How will the mural be attached to the wall? 4. What types of special equipment will be necessary to complete the mural ( scaffolding, lifts, etc.)? 5. How will the work process impact the public right of way (sidewalks, streets, etc)? 6. Will the mural be illuminated? If so, how? 7. How will the mural be maintained?
The last but not least g) is the project timeline. 1. When will the project begin? 2. When will the project be completed?
Once you have these questions categorized and answered, as well as a design, location and permission, you are golden. Submissions are dropped off at the ACGT offices at the corner of Parkwood and Monroe. The ACGT then relies on the Mural Authority to consider the submission.
The Mural Authority is required to respond to the application within 30 days. The Mural Authority consists of five mayoral appointees from the community and three members of the Art in Public Places committee.
There you go. If you’ve ever thought about the idea or considered a mural, whether you are a building owner and/or artist, I hope this has been helpful. Now all we need is a catalyst to coordinate between property owners who want to see things happen and artists who are willing to do the work.
Maybe we’re forced to deal with Craigslist and the like or maybe someone in the community could seize this opportunity, passionately and aggressively.
Jerry Gray is an artist, writer, vocalist, bartender, gallery owner and advocate of the Toledo Potential, which promotes the retaining and featuring of artistic talent and culture in our city.