The Coast News Group

City mural policy postponed, projects presented

OCEANSIDE — The Arts Commission postponed discussion of a city policy for murals on public and private buildings on Monday, due to the absence of two commissioners who helped draft the regulations.

There were presentations on mural projects.

Gumaro Escarcega, MainStreet Oceanside program manager, shared MainStreet’s plans for a downtown mural initiative. MainStreet is developing a partnership agreement between itself, the city, and interested building owners and artists to create murals to beautify downtown.

The project proposes 10 murals over three years. Art standards, a fundraising strategy, and partnership terms are being ironed out.

Escarcega said the goal is to set high standards for public art engagement. He added MainStreet is investing time and seed money to do the project right, so other groups can follow suit with additional public art projects.

MainStreet hopes to have the first three murals painted by fall, so it can pursue funding grants with concrete examples.

There was also discussion on harbor staff’s request to install a mural at the marina and receive help with funding.

Firm direction on mural projects is on hold until the city policy is finalized. Committee members did encourage MainStreet to move forward with its plans.

The idea of a citywide mural policy has not been wholly supported by the Planning Commission or Downtown Advisory Committee.

The Planning Commission unanimously opposed regulations on July 11. Commissioners questioned the notion of relying on a panel of three Arts Commissioners, and no public input, to decide what is acceptable art.

Planning Commissioners concluded there was no need to review murals, and said the decision should be left up to the building owner and artist.

The Downtown Advisory Committee was evenly split on its support and opposition to regulations on July 27. A concern shared by committee members is “art by committee” does not yield positive results.

The Arts Commission is tasked to define terms for “mural” and “qualified artist” at its October meeting, in order to help move the mural policy, initiated by city                                                   administrators, forward.