Commission OKs TMS mural program

TROY — Troy Planning Commission gave its OK for Troy Main Street to continue its efforts for a downtown mural project.

On Wednesday, the commission gave its consent to Troy Main Street Executive Director Andrea Keller to continue to plan for the large works of art on several downtown buildings along with the building owners and its neighboring businesses.

The commission would be presented with each mural proposal for review and approval prior to being installed.

“Murals are a great way to get social media traffic, especially doing some sort of selfie wall where people come, and it’s clear that it’s in Troy,” she said, adding social media traffic translated into local business traffic in the downtown area.

Keller said an example may include a “selfie wall” where the person stands along the wall with the artwork behind them such as Nashville’s famous “Wing Wall” featuring angel wings or Dayton’s selfie wall that says “Dayton Inspires” with a “frame” painted on the wall.

Keller said Troy Main Street was seeking approval for the concept of adding murals before they begin to raise funds and apply for grants to commission artists and work with building owners.

Chairman Al Kappers asked who would maintain the artwork after its installed.

“One of the worst things to do downtown is to leave artwork that needs to be maintained,” said Kappers said, who said that will be something to plan for and allocate funds for the upkeep and maintenance.

Member Ed Westmeyer said the mural program is a great idea. He suggested Keller present several designs to keep the mural application process flowing.

Member Sandy Ehrlich said she likes the mural program and it’s a “progressive” program. She also said she likes how cities use murals to promote their unique history, diversity, and other notable events. She said it would be nice to consider the opinions of neighboring businesses and entities like churches before the work was installed.

Member Larry Wolke said, “I can see in some of the locations a nicely designed mural would be an improvement, but on the other hand I have an aversion to painting a perfectly good bare brick wall.”

Kappers agreed with Wolke and noted that the commission would review each mural on a case-by-case basis.

Wolke asked Planning Commission could run into a “content problem” or a mural’s subject matter could be interpreted by some as political. Director of Public Service and Safety and commission member Patrick Titterington said the proposed artwork would be welcoming and positive, with no wording if possible.

“Each artist would have their own interpretation, but that’s why this is a (multiple-step) process,” Titterington said.

Member Jim McGarry suggested that TMS should contract with an architect to determine the wall’s integrity before a mural is installed.

The following locations were identified by Troy Main Street as potential mural sites: 405 Southwest quadrant of the Public Square, 116 S. Market St.(Pachamama boutique); 101 S. Market St. (Echo Boutique/Poppy Lane); 301 Public Square alley (David Fair); Haren’s Market (between window spaces, not on the brick) on the East Main Street side; 106 E. Main St. (Troy City Music building); 111 E. Main St. (Beauty by Bellotti) building (the owner requests having the ‘ghost’ mural repainted); 6 E. Main St. (Polished Nail Salon), the owner will participate as long as the Presbyterian Church also approves the design); walls of the 405 building and its alley wall to Cherry Street; 4 S. Market St. (Insightful Eyewear) building in the southwest quadrant; 9 W. Main St. (Mayflower building); 15 S. Market St. (The 3 WeirdSisters Studio).