New Smyrna Beach to consider regulating city’s murals

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — New Smyrna Beach is considering a proposal to regulate murals and restrict their size, location and wording after more have gone up over the last few years.

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A first draft of the proposal will be heard Tuesday night. If passed, existing murals would have five years to comply.

“It’s kind of a sticky subject for me, because a lot of murals I do are education,” said Shyriaka “Shy” Morris, a fourth-generation New Smyrna Beach resident who has created nearly two dozen murals. “And if you take the text away it’s art but it’s not educating the public on why it’s actually put there on the storm drains.”

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Mayor Russ Owen said it’s about establishing rules like other cities have to avoid issues.

“We got a small glimpse of this a couple years ago,” he said. “There was a small, little brick on Flagler Avenue that caused an outrageous controversy. I can only imagine what that would have been if it had been a massive mural on Canal Street or Flagler Avenue. So that’s all we are trying to do, is be proactive.”

Morris said she will continue creating her art.

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“I just want the city to be inclusive with artists so they can have some equity with the work they are providing the town,” she said.

The mayor said he supports expanding that grandfather provision for the murals, giving artists more than those five years to comply.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.