The City of Miami Springs voted 3-2 to not allow privately produced murals on the exterior of buildings. In the meeting, Councilman Vazquez had wanted an up or down vote on murals. Yes or No.
Councilwoman Bravo didn’t hesitate and made a motion to ban privately placed murals on the exterior of buildings. However, since no one seconded the motion, the motion died.
Nevertheless, Council member Fajet stated that he had reached out to and spoke with over 80 residents to get their feedback on murals. His observation had been a 60 / 40 split with about 60% of the residents he spoke with against murals with only about 40% supporting it.
Furthermore, in reviewing anecdotal commentary from folks online, I can tell you that there’s a misconception that the City can regulate content. We want to reiterate what the City Attorney has said: The City cannot regulate content. If we allow murals, then the 1st Amendment prohibits any restriction over content. If the City allows murals, then it has to allow all art, including art that may not be in character with our community.
During the discussion, the murals paid for the City of Coral Gables came up. Overall, the Council Members liked the idea, but Mayor Mitchell hit everyone with a reality check. It’s going to cost over $50,000 to paint the Rec Center. How much does it cost to make a beautiful, wall to wall pro Miami Springs mural? Mayor Mitchell suggested some of these murals can reach up to $100,000 to produce. That pretty much ended the discussion of City funded public murals.
Mayor Mitchell then suggested that Councilman Fajet was in favor of Jacky Bravo’s original motion. After discussion, Councilman Fajet said he would support Bravo’s motion to ban murals.
Before that moved forward, Mayor Mitchell shared a presentation of various photos from murals in the Leah Arts District of Hialeah. She expressed that she enjoys many of them, she felt many really wouldn’t fit within the character of Miami Springs. She also showed examples of a mural that could barely be distinguished from street graffiti.
Councilwoman Jacky Bravo then made a second motion to ban murals. Councilman Fajet seconded the motion. Here’s the final vote:
Motion to Ban Murals
- Bob Best No
- Jacky Bravo Yes
- Walter Fajet Yes
- Victor Vazquez No
- Mayor Mitchell Yes
Now the City Attorney will draft legislation banning murals. Once the legislation is drafted, it will go to a 1st reading in an upcoming Council meeting. Then a 2nd reading in a subsequent meeting. Residents have an opportunity to express their concerns in favor or against the banning of murals as the legislation moves to the 1st and 2nd reading.
It’s a shame about the murals. We need to cheer up 36th street, which at present is pretty miserable. Nevertheless it’s unfortunate that the city would be unable to control content. Does this mean that people could paint political signs?