Film Row building owner asked to come up with ideas for removing part of mural
An Oklahoma City design board has ordered the owner of Film Row's historic Paramount building to find options for removing part of a mural that covers some decorative brickwork.
The massive mural on the east side of the building, 7 N Lee, features images of jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, actress Joan Crawford and songwriter/performer Woody Guthrie. The work raised ire when a prominent New Zealand muralist painted it in June because the property owner did not apply for the proper city permits.
Part of the mural was painted over a historic "ghost sign" on the building, a faded bit of hand-painted advertising for Paramount Pictures that dates back to the early days of Oklahoma City's Film Row, when it was a regional center for the film distribution business.
"Painting over that is concerning," said Laura Griggs, a representative from the Oklahoma City Planning Department.
The artist, Graham Hoete, also known as Mr G, painted two wall-size murals on the old film exchange building in June. On Thursday, the Oklahoma City Downtown Design Review Committee held off on voting to approve the Christian, Crawford and Guthrie mural, but approved another mural on the property that features a massive likeness of Oklahoma City Thunder player Steven Adams holding a basketball.
While the Steven Adams mural also did not first go through the proper city permitting process, the mural was painted on a blank wall. The other work covers brickwork and a historic ghost sign.
How to restore sign
On Monday, the Oklahoma City Arts Commission also approved the Adams mural, but denied approval to the other mural on the grounds that it did not meet Arts Commission guidelines.
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- Video: Film Row building owner asked to come up with ideas for removing part of mural (2016-08-18)
"I think it's cool," Betsy Brunsteter, chairwoman of the Downtown Design Review Committee, said of the Adams mural.
Melodie Garneau, owner and manager of The Paramount OKC, defended the murals, which she said celebrate the history of the Film Exchange District.
"It's to remind people that this is the film district and there's film there, and we're trying to do that," Garneau said.
Garneau said she looked into restoring the ghost sign, but was told it would essentially have to be painted over as a new sign.
Brunstetter ordered Garneau to return to the committee next month with ideas for removing paint from the Christian, Crawford and Guthrie mural that covers some of the brickwork on the windows of the building.