• Future uncertain for collection of murals in Parramore

    By: Jason Kelly , Sarahbeth Ackerman


    ORLANDO, Fla. - A plan to brighten up part of Orlando’s Parramore neighborhood has hit a road block.

    A collection of murals along West Central Boulevard has come to be known by residents as the West Art District.

    Harrison Rai, who manages the district, said the city of Orlando has notified him that the murals are in violation of city code.

    Photos: Murals in Parramore's West Art District

    Rai said code enforcement inspectors told him that the artwork might have to be removed, but he said that the city will try to work with him.

    “I’ve been here for a long time and there (weren’t) too many great stories coming out of here,” Rai said. “I wanted to be the person that makes the change in this area, (to) make it better and bring some positivity to this area. It really needs it.”

    Rai said that he knew from the start that bringing art to the neighborhood could be risky.

    He said that the code enforcement division notified him that the artwork didn’t meet the city’s mural policy. They told him that a neighbor contacted code enforcement to complain, he said.

    Rai said he envisions the district being a place where people can stop and admire the art -- murals that tell stories and inspire.

    “My initial reaction was I wanted to figure out how I can fix this, Rai said. “I wanted to do everything I (could) with the city to fix this issue.”

    According to the city, murals can only be painted on the sides or the back of a building in a non-residential area designated as an activity center.

    The city said that although the murals in Parramore violate the city's requirements, it may still be possible to keep the art up through sign permit.

    “I have good hopes for this,” Rai said. “I think, at this point, we are going to come to an agreement and actually make this work. It’s beautiful.”

    A hearing on the future of the murals is scheduled for next month. The city said it's working with Rai toward a solution.

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