Fate of Mt. Pleasant Moe's mural to be decided Tuesday, June 13

State of the art

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According to the Post & Courier, Moe's Mt. Pleasant restaurant will learn the fate of its mural at next Tuesday's town council meeting. The mural, painted by Sergio Odeith and featuring portraits of Marilyn Monroe, John Lennon, and Al Capone, has been in the hot seat since last year when the Board of Zoning Appeals ruled that it violated the town's sign ordinance.

The ordinance specified how much signage a building could have; the town ruled that Moe's couldn't erect a sign because the mural accounted for all of the space allotted to signage, which was 35 sq. feet of area no greater than eight feet in height.

Moe's lost their appeal in December of 2016 and next Tuesday's closed-door meeting with Mt. Pleasant's legal team will decide whether the mural stays or goes. And while the town has since changed their sign regulations — in April the town council voted to treat non-commercial signs, including murals differently from commercial signs — Moe's initial ruling stands.

The fate of the mural stirred some people in the community to take a stand for the public art. In a December letter to the Moultrie News, Mt. Pleasant town councilman Mark Smith encouraged readers to #savemoesmural, claiming, "Moe’s, after significant forethought, created a piece of artwork on their building. This is not advertising."

A Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts blog, posted by executive director Mike Gibbons, asked, "What say you, arts lover? Will you reach out to #savemoesmural? Or is this a case of just needing to follow the rules?"

And most recently, in April, a website, roadsideamerica.com, an "online guide to offbeat tourist attractions," posted an image of the mural, calling the controversy surrounding it, "a classic zoning vs. art scuffle."

As for us? We love the heck out of public art, even when it features a particularly random assortment of characters. Here's to hoping we aren't alone.

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