The wrap-around mural at Andy’s Bar could have the front facade painted over soon, based on what the Denton City Council votes to do in Tuesday’s meeting.
The portion of the mural that faces Locust Street was painted before the Historic Landmark Commission reviewed the project in October for approval, a necessary step because the building is a registered historic landmark. The commission voted to have the mural painted over, saying it doesn’t fit with the historic character of downtown Denton, leaving the council to uphold the decision or overturn it.
Now that the new Denton Development Code is in place, the City Council will review the project Tuesday night. The new code specifies that a mural can cover only 25% of a facade, said Ryan Adams, a spokesman for the city.
Daniel Black, the artist who completed the mural, remains proud of his work. Overall, the response to the mural, titled Band on the Run, has been overwhelmingly positive. Murals add value to otherwise dingy walls, Black said. In addition to covering up a building’s blemishes, murals act to “anchor the culture” of a community by reflecting its values, he said.
“Denton is a town where artists are developed,” he said. “I think for it to keep benefiting from the artistic people in the town, it has to have an avenue to support those people.”
The project started as a long mural around the side of the building, leaving the front of building at 122 N. Locust St. a light cream color, and was unanimously approved by the Historic Landmark Commission. After the building owners and Black saw what was completed, they decided to continue the mural onto the front of the building, said Eric Pulido, the applicant on behalf of Andy’s Bar. Pulido, a musician and business owner, also previously served on the commission for six years.
“We thought it looked incomplete,” Pulido said at the commission’s October meeting. “Anyone can think differently and I can respect and appreciate that, but we really thought it would be nice to continue it on.”
Pulido said they moved forward with the work because the first portion of the project was unanimously approved, and the timetable for the next meeting didn’t fit with the scheduling for the artist and equipment to complete the project. So, he filed the amendment and kept city staff informed of how the project would proceed, and the mural was completed the weekend before the October meeting. He declined to comment for this story.
At the time of the meeting, the only rules for art downtown encouraged murals, from 1997 appearance guidelines.
“The renovation of historic advertising painted directly on building surfaces is encouraged, along with creation of large-scale murals as a form of public art,” it reads.
Roman McAllen, the city’s historic preservation officer, said he doesn’t believe paint impacts the historic value of a structure.
“In my mind, for me, it’s still paint for me,” he said at the time. “I know you may not agree with me, but in my world I have seen too many buildings decaying because they have no paint. So for me, it’s no paint or paint. Once we get to paint, I don’t personally feel that it’s significant.”
For the Andy’s mural, Black decided to mask some of the building’s eyesores by painting over unconventional elements like suspended wires and an adjacent shed. Black said he even repaired portions of the bar’s walls as he worked.
Overwhelmingly, members of the commission said during the meeting they liked the side of the mural, but that it shouldn’t continue onto the front that directly faces the Square.
“The murals of Denton have really brought life to those areas and made them almost destinations of their own, and I think it’s appropriate there,” said Helen Bailey, a member of the commission. “I have to say it gives me great pause to put it on the front on one of the buildings that faces the courthouse. It doesn’t seem to ring true to everything else we have going on on the Square.”
The final decision will be made during the City Council’s Tuesday regular meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m.