EDIT: Since publishing, I learned that Tsunami falls just outside of the legal boundaries for the Arts & Entertainment District and have made the correction.
I also received a copy of the decision from Judge McKenna (PDF/DropBox link). In it, he states that the City Code allowing the HPC discretion for “other factors” as they “deem pertinent” to be unconstitutional, invalid, and unenforceable.
A heartfelt (and thoroughly tongue-in cheek) congratulations to the City of Annapolis and their Historic Preservation Commission for firmly planting their heads (and I am trying to be nice here) ….. in the sand.
For crying out loud people, it is only paint!
The last time I looked there was no exterior paint from the 1600s on the facades of ANY building in Annapolis. Lisa Craig, the City’s Chief of Historic Preservation has gone on record saying that the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), led by Alderman Joe Budge’s wife, Sharon Kennedy (conflict of interest much there?) does NOT regulate paint. If they did, perhaps the facade of Mission Escape Rooms (an outstanding new business by the way and a great addition to Annapolis) might have felt some pushback. What about Chez Ami, a B&B owned by Ward One Resident’s Association’s President and the mural painted on their exterior wall? What about the exterior wall of Hats in the Belfry? So, if the issue could not paint, nor murals…what is it?
Maybe it is the stranglehold that some residents of Ward 1 have on the HPC. Many in Ward 1 have this vision of Annapolis that simply does not exist–nor has it ever. To paraphrase a friend of mine, they have this utopian vision of an Annapolis that, quite honestly, never was. They have invented this mythical village on the banks of the Severn River where there is parking a plenty for them, yet no concern for the visitors; no tourists to get in their way, yet plenty of tourists to spend the money to keep their taxes low,; no wires or cables to block their views; bars and restaurants for them to eat and drink, yet those same bars and restaurants that will close when the residents decide they want to go to bed or to have some quiet time. And depending on the direction of the wind, any number of other “demands” can come into play. We don’t want fast food, but Mission BBQ is ok. If nothing else, Ward 1 is living, breathing conundrum of double standards.
So, the gist of this argument is that some folk’s panties are in a twist and they do not like the mural. I get that. There is an awful lot of art that I do not like–hey, this mural is not my favorite either. However, the concept of it is!
I wonder if this court case and conversation would be necessary if Jeff Huntington (a world renowned artist who happens to live here and painted the mural) had painted a scene with a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a wealthy white guy in Sperry’s and a Henri Lloyd jacket standing on the deck of his 50′ Benetau looking toward the Bay Bridge? Don’t kid yourself, it would have been fine.
Art is good for the city. Look at what the Maryland State Arts Council has to say:
Maryland State Arts Council is an agency of the State of Maryland under the authority of the Department of Commerce, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts
Larry Hogan, Governor | Boyd K. Rutherford, Lieutenant Governor
Mike Gill, Secretary | Benjamin Wu, Deputy Secretary
Liz Fitzsimmons, Executive Director, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts
Mission Statement and Goals
The mission of MSAC is to encourage and invest in the advancement of the arts for the people of our state. The goals of the Council are to support artists and arts organizations in their pursuit of artistic excellence, to ensure the accessibility of the arts to all citizens and to promote statewide awareness of arts resources and opportunities.
The MSAC’s programs are aimed at benefiting all Maryland residents regardless of political or religious opinion or affiliation, marital status, race, color, creed, age, national origin, sex or sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or geographic location within the State.