On Feb. 9, the City of Hot Springs requested public input to be given on a proposed mural put on the side of Kollective Coffee & Tea. The input would be taken online or via mail through March 10.
Three weeks prior to the public input deadline, on Feb. 17 the proposed mural was unanimously approved by the Historic District Commission at a public hearing with three community members speaking — two against, and one for.
An appeal on the commission's decision can be made by anyone by filing for judicial review in Garland County Circuit Court through March 19 — 30 days after the commission's decision.
According to the city's full gathering of public input via social media on March 10, 118 people approved the design, and 63 people disapproved it.
The building a mural is to be painted on is owned by Bobby Graham and considered private property. However, since it is within the Historic District, the design had to be voted on by the Historic District Commission.
"The Historic District Commission considers applications for proposed modifications to the exterior of structures within the District," City Attorney Brian Albright told The Post in an email on March 11.
The following is a portion of the the Historic District Commission's Feb. 17 meeting:
“The City of Hot Springs Arts Advisory Committee has approved the proposed mural for the wall at 110 Central Avenue and have opened up a 30-day public input period to run from today through March 10th. The property owner, Bobby Graham, approached Mary Zunich with Visit Hot Springs and the Hot Springs Area Cultural Alliance to assist him in finding an artist and mural project for the wall.
All costs for the project will be paid for by Mr. Graham. The artist is Danae Brissonnet. She is world renown.”
Despite the vote being premature to the full gathering of public input by the Advisory Committee, a recommendation from the committee was not required prior to the Historic Commission's vote.
Prior to 2017, the Advisory Committee would have had purview to reviewed and recommend art — in this case a mural — on private and public structures/facilities, Albright said. After June 6, 2017, that review and recommendation is limited.
"The Historic District Commission has final authority (at the City level) on proposed modifications to the exterior of structures within the District," Albright said. "A recommendation to the Commission is not binding. The Commission is charged with following the guidelines of the District per the Design Guidelines Handbook."
The Design Guidelines Handbook can be accessed here.
After backlash from community members and the church which the wall faces, in a March 17 HDC meeting the vote was repealed, and a revote has been set for April 21.