Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the owners of The ARTery art supply shop filed an appeal with the Atascadero's Planning Commission to keep a mural on their building. They didn't file an appeal.
Atascadero’s much-discussed downtown tree mural will have another chance for approval, city leaders confirmed Tuesday night.
The city’s Design Review Committee will now reconsider whether to keep the mural — painted on the side of an art supply shop called The ARTery — at its July 24 meeting.
The reconsideration will be a landmark in the issue, which has swelled into an emotional debate in the community and online over how public art fits in the downtown core.
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The mural became the center of attention in recent weeks when the ARTery welcomed a Santa Cruz artist to paint the western wall of its building without getting a permit first.
The 600-square-foot mixed-media piece, painted in May, features a person sitting under a large tree with blue and green tones highlighted by neon spray paint.
The building owners said they thought they could get a permit afterward. The city’s Design Review Committee denied their application on the grounds that it didn’t match downtown’s character. The owners were then faced with filing an appeal — which cost $460 — with the city’s Planning Commission or painting over the mural.
Submitting proposed changes for reconsideration was later presented as a third option. ARTery owners Bobbi Nuñez and Bill Arkfeld submitted three proposed changes to the mural on Friday to qualify for that reconsideration.
The couple can still appeal the second committee decision, whatever that may be. Lessening the expanse of the tree canopy, fixing peeling paint and painting over some words the artist wrote to thank the owners are theproposed changes, Bill Arkfeld said.
“I’m just trying to give everybody a chance to work this out,” he added.
The mural debate is most notably seen on the Facebook event page “Rally to Save the Tree Mural.” The page had nearly 500 followers Tuesday.
The shop owners have encouraged fans to keep posting pictures of the mural, writing letters and inviting friends to speak up for art in the city. Critics against the mural also use the page to speak out, saying the shop should have followed the city’s process.
The Design Review Committee is scheduled to consider the changed proposal at 3:30 p.m. July 24 at City Hall, 6907 El Camino Real.