Sign crackdown grows as Stillwater paints over mural

Stillwater’s purists are cracking down again.

Just a few weeks after an anonymous person called the cops on a coffee shop that drew chalk drawings on the sidewalk, the city’s preservation society has put the kibosh on the mural project of a St. Paul artist.

“I do the art. I don’t do the bureaucracy,” David Witt told Fox 9 News.

He said he was just a couple of hours from finishing the mural on the side of a caboose near a restaurant when someone sent him a photo showing it was being covered up with brown paint instead.

That someone was the senior manager of the Freight House — the restaurant that owns the Caboose. The reasoning? According to the HPC, the mural contains an advertisement for a specific product, which the city’s manual deems inappropriate. The restaurant didn’t want to fight City Hall, but Witt was unaware of the politics.

“It was a month-long process of them contacting the Freight House,” he protested. “Never once was I told that anything was going on.”

  • MrE85

    IMHO, an awful lot of handwringing over the fate of a glorified beer ad. The artist was paid well, and has gotten more notoriety from the mural being painted over than he would have had it remained.

  • John

    wow. seems like they could have better served the point by asking the artist if he was willing to generic up the beer ad, and keep the mural. . .

    While I get the point – we don’t want Times Square levels of advertising in Stillwater – I think we might want to think about finding a middle ground somewhere. There might be room for art that happens to display a product in it. maybe.

    • Xopher Smith

      I think the PBR advertisement was the point of the mural, and the artist was hired specifically to make a PBR advertisement. Seems like the restaurant owner was just lazy with communication in general.

  • boB from WA

    Stone Lar Beer….

  • joetron2030

    It’s a shame that all of his work was for naught. Glad he got paid either way.

  • EHP

    I wish I had the time and energy the Stillwater folks seem to have to blow up sidewalk chalk and murals on a caboose into situations involving both police and news coverage. I imagine their lives contain a lot of bon bons, hand-wringing and pearl clutching. I realize that’s catty, but I’m also fairly sure it’s also correct.

  • DavidG

    I’m pretty sure most historic buildings in commercial districts had advertising painted on their sides in the early days, so I;’m not sure what the preservation society is preserving here.

    • Stillwater is basically a Disney caricature of a small town.

      • John

        With good ice cream (or so I’m told).