Mural ordinance passed by Town of Friday Harbor

The proposed mural

The Town of Friday Harbor repealed an ordinance that previously placed a moratorium on murals, and instated an ordinance detailing rules and regulations for permitted murals on July 16.

Ordinance No. 1569 reads that the purpose of allowing the murals is for “fostering a sense of pride…preserving the distinct historic character and small town quality… and encouraging artistic expression, creativity, imagination, and diversity.”

According to Town Administrator Duncan Wilson, the components to the mural process are almost all complete, and the town will revisit them Aug. 6. Specifically they are looking at whether to limit the number of murals allowed in town, and whether they should narrow down the requirements of what the murals represent.

In February the town overturned a previous decision to not allow a 1,200 foot mural proposed by American Legion Post 163 on the front of their concrete buttress. The town’s council had originally rejected the proposition 4-1, but in their re-evaluation in February agreed unanimously to let the legion go ahead with their original design created by local artist Michael Scott. The Whale Museum is the first organization to apply for a mural permit since the new ordinance, submitted one day after it passed, July 17.

“Because the museum is in a historic building, we will also go through a series of review meetings with the Historic Preservation Review Board,” Jenny Atkinson, executive director at the Whale Museum said. “Since the Town Council has just approved a new mural ordinance, I think we are all figuring this out together.

According to the mural statement, “it is a message of hope, celebration of all that is wild and free, and a call to action for locals and visitors to become stewards of the environments.” The artist, Lindsay Carron, recently painted a stormwater drain mural outside the Whale Museum. The Whale Museum has proposed to begin late August or late September of 2015 if the permit is approved.