RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Jackson Ward homeowner is excited to move forward after the City of Richmond allowed him to keep a mural on his property.
Last year, Josh Shaheen decided he wanted a mural on his home on Monroe Street in Jackson Ward after dealing with unwanted graffiti on his walls. The mural was put up with the help of local business owner Ian Hess and by street artists Bustart and Nils Westergard. The artwork proved effective at keeping graffiti away from Shaheen’s home.
But the trouble first started in February, when the City notified Shaheen that because his home was in a historic neighborhood, the mural would have to be taken down in the interest of historical preservation efforts. Upon being notified, Shaheen requested approval to keep the mural, but his request was deferred.
Many people in the neighborhood did not want to see the work of art go.
“I support this mural 100%,” one resident said.
“I feel that the mural is important to improving the aesthetics,” another added.
“I hope it won’t be removed or painted over,” yet another resident chimed in.
The mural was the main topic of a Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) meeting on Tuesday, March 28. Despite years of graffiti on the building, CAR members were concerned about what the paint used for the mural could do to the building’s historic brick.
“The mural installed at 313 North Mary Street, as previously stated, was painted on unpainted masonry. This is in violation of the guidelines,” CAR stated. “Painting brick adds an additional layer of maintenance to property owners. Moisture will eventually get into the bricks, causing the paint to buckle, fall off or even spall.”
Shaheen brought his own findings to the board, stating that removing the mural might cause even more damage to the brick. CAR ultimately decided on Tuesday that the mural would stay, but a protective lining would need to be added around the top of the wall and the chimneys.
After a long debate over what to do with his property, Shaheen is in support of the final decision.
“The fact this drug out for so long, you know, kind of had me doubting the turnout that we would get,” Shaheen said. “But, you know, I couldn’t be happier.”
CAR will be meeting with Shaheen to discuss the next steps for the new lining. Board members also said they would be taking the time to learn more about what is and is not safe for historic brick.
It is unknown how much adding the new lining will cost, but Shaheen previously told 8News that it would have cost an estimated $10,000 to remove the mural entirely.