Richmond Camera Must Remove Mural

Earlier this year, a sixteen students and two teachers from Tandem painted a large mural on the wall of Richmond Camera, on High Street next to Jak ‘n Jil. (You can see photos on the camera shop’s website.) But the business, despite having approached Tandem in the first place, never applied for any permits to cover one wall of their building in signage. So now the city has told them that the sign is illegal, Courteney Stuart writes in The Hook, and must be removed by the end of the month. The city spokesman points out that Richmond Camera can appeal their decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals, which may well give them permission to keep the sign, but it’s a step that they’ve got to take if they don’t intend to comply with the law.

It’s a great-looking mural that’s definitely more art than advertisement—here’s hoping the BZA lets it stay—but Richmond Camera deserves no sympathy for failing to get a permit. The Tandem kids, on the other hand, ought to be upset and disappointed if their work gets erased. The owner of Richmond Camera owed them better treatment than this. Now it’s up the city to make that right.

05/13 Update: A spokesman for the city tells me that Neighborhood Development Services figures that this mural is art, not signage, and thus that they have no say in whether it should be there. He points out, too, that the store owner has been very cooperative, but that he’s still got to pare down his three signs to the limit of two for an entrance corridor. The colorful mural will stay, everybody’s happy, the end.

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