Excerpt from Capital Gazette:
The battle over whether a mural can stay on Annapolis restaurant Tsunami’s wall will head to court as restaurant owner Gavin Buckley was served with court papers on Friday.
It’s the culmination of months of back-and-forth between the West Street restaurant and the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.
Originally, the restaurant received a citation for peeling paint and order to repaint the facade.
So, in June 2015, Annapolis artist Jeff Huntington took 20 hours to create a mural which drew inspiration from a series of screaming popes painted by British Expressionist Francis Bacon.
It was painting it without the commission’s approval that led to the controversy. The commission saw the mural as an “alteration,” or something that affects the historic or culture significance of the structure, as defined by city code..
“We choose not to regulate paint,” said Lisa Craig, the city’s chief of historic preservation, in October 2015, “but when paint gets to the point where it obstructs or detracts from the architectural characteristics of the building, then they (commission members) have to make a judgment call.”
Buckley sees it as an attempt to merge West Street’s historic nature with Annapolis’ artistic sector.
“We look at beautiful cities all over the world in Prague and in Paris and these cities they make things work with historic buildings and they understand juxtaposition,” Buckley said Friday. “But I feel like we’re not getting that same thing here. So, as it became bigger than us, we decided we would stand up.”
The commission petitioned the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County to require a judge to decide whether the commission has the authority to hold hearings over the painting.
Friday’s serving of court papers is now the next step in the process. If the judge decides the commission has the authority, then Buckley and the restaurant owners would be asked to retroactively apply for approval. Hearings would be held where neighbors could weigh in and discuss.
Calls to Craig Friday were not returned by press time.