City of Lubbock approves art, decides 19th Street mural can stay - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

City of Lubbock approves art, decides 19th Street mural can stay

Source: KCBD Video Source: KCBD Video

A mural near the Depot District will stay in place, after the city deemed it to be art on Wednesday night.

The decision follows a miscommunication which led to a disagreement between the city of Lubbock and a local business owner.

The owner of 180 Vape on 19th said the mural never meant to create drama, but was designed to promote unity.

"We wanted to do something as a tribute to Lubbock," said Kim Pharr, owner of 180 Vape.

Pharr went to the city of Lubbock code enforcement office where she said she received verbal approval.

"They said it seemed ok, so I kind of felt like that was the good to go. Evidently there was an email that was lost, and it said that we were not allowed to paint on brick, but I didn't know that at the time."

Pharr said that's why she commissioned Joey Martinez to paint the mural.

"It took me about two days," Martinez said.

Pharr said her frustration came when after two days of painting and more than a week of completion, code enforcement told her she was in violation of city ordinance.

According to the city, the mural is a violation of the central business district design code which states brick is not allowed to be painted.

"But, if you go up and down 19th and even Avenue Q, there are plenty of murals and paint on brick," said Pharr.

However, the city qualifies those as art, which is what Pharr and Martinez believe this mural is.

"This is art, it's meant to be pretty," Pharr said.

"This isn't a sign, this is a mural," Martinez said.

Pharr said while she's thankful the city determined the mural was in fact art, she said she hopes a lesson can be learned.

"There do need to be some strict guidelines for business owners when they go into city code enforcement and planning and zoning people and whenever you go in there and talk to them, and ask them 'hey can I do a mural?', well….let's see what your building is made out of , how are you going to do that, maybe get a little more information from them," Pharr said.

Martinez said art like this should continue in order for Lubbock to grow.

"It's sad that we're trying to build the economic system here in Lubbock and we can't do it because we're being held back to create artwork."

Something Pharr agrees with.

"Lubbock is supposedly one of the best places to open a business and I think if we want to continue to be the best place to open a business...the city of Lubbock needs to be in better communication with those business owners, and those entrepreneurs that are coming here wanting to start a business…you know, what do we need to do to in order to make Lubbock thrive."

You can view the relevant part of the city code below:

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