Preservation Commission tables proposed guidelines on murals

Published 9:24 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2022

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez Preservation Commission tabled action on proposed guidelines for murals in the Natchez Historic District.

However, as written, those guidelines would only allow murals on a handful of buildings in the downtown area. Buildings considered historic or buildings that are considered to be contributing to the historic feel of downtown, are prohibited from having murals installed on them.

Taylor Cooley, who owns a photography studio and event center at 631 Franklin St., has had an application to install a mural on the side and back of her building for more than a year.

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That application has been tabled pending the review of mural guidelines. However, if these guidelines were approved, Cooley’s application would be rejected because her building is considered a contributing building.

Only newer buildings in the downtown area, like the Sherwin Williams building or the old Firestone Tire building, would be eligible for a mural.

Chesney Doyle, president of the Downtown Natchez Alliance, asked the commission to table the guidelines until others have a chance to join in the discussion.

She said Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson and others are considering turning Locust Alley, which runs between Main and Franklin streets, into an art alley. However, the proposed murals guidelines would prohibit them in that alley.

She said the DNA’s design committee would like to contribute to the discussion.

“Public art brings life to a city. It could be sculpture or murals that bring beauty, excitement and youthful exuberance. As the DNA, we have listened to the interest of many people in the community,” Doyle said. “Consider not taking action on the guidelines tonight so we can have more meetings and our design committee be invited to the table.”