Atlanta Artists Sue Over City’s New Mural Rules

Murder Kroger mural in Atlanta (Photo by Biosthmors)

Four months after Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed proposed a dedicated funding stream to help local artists, a group of artists and property owners is suing the city.

The lawsuit concerns the city’s regulation of murals on private property, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It alleges that “landowners have been told they must now go through a multi-step application process for art that already exists or face possible prosecution — plus destruction of the art on their own property,” the paper reports.

The suit also says that for future works, artists will need to go through a bureaucratic approval process involving five separate city offices, including the city council and mayor, without any definite deadline.

Gerry Weber, a lawyer for the artists and property owners suing the city, told the paper that the city recently notified the plaintiffs that they had until June 9 to have their murals removed or be cited. The city was reportedly acting under the provision of an ordinance created over 30 years ago.

“The lawsuit seeks an expedited court order that prevents enforcement of the ordinance and damages for the artists and property owners involved,” the AJC reports. The plaintiffs argue that it’s a violation of free speech.

The city hasn’t yet commented on the suit.