City Council Looks to Temporarily Ban New Public Art

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The Memphis City Council is looking to put a temporary moratorium in place to eliminate new artwork from going up in public places.


Chairman Berlin Boyd said the 120-day moratorium will be in place so the council can establish a “road map” or legislation that regulates art in public spaces done by outside entities.


He said the language of the legislation will be guidelines similar to that used to oversee the UrbanArt Commission.


This comes two weeks after the council voted to remove murals done under Paint Memphis that the council deemed offensive and “satanic.”


Council member Joe Brown said that shouldn’t have had to happen “in the first place,” as there should have been more oversight in place as the art was going up. He said the council needs to become more vigilant of all programs that make changes in the city, and especially those that pertain to art.


“All we do when a fire starts, is put it out,” he said. “At the same time, we could have fire prevention.”


Council member Worth Morgan adds that the council is not “debating what is art, we’re debating whether this art is tasteful or appropriate.”


“We do have a responsibility to say what is tasteful,” he said. “Just as we wouldn’t be putting up anything inappropriate in these hallways and offices, we shouldn’t in the community. If the community does not want it, it shouldn't be there either.”


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