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'Black Lives Do Matter' mural to relocate following change to land-use code

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Grace Vitaglione
/
WHQR
Wilmington city council approved an amendment to land-use code that differentiated between signage and art.

Wilmington City council voted earlier this week to approve an amendment to its land-use code that would allow the relocation of the ‘Black lives do matter’ art installation.

In September, council held a heated debate on the mural, and ultimately voted to remove it from its current location by the end of the year. Installed in the wake of the George Floyd protests in 2020, the mural was originally intended to stand for a year, but was given a one-year extension in 2021.

The newly approved code amendment differentiates between art and signage, meaning the ‘Black Lives Do Matter’ mural can now be put up in any non-residential district.

The co-owner of the mural, Janna Siegel Robertson, executive director of the nonprofit Community Art Collaborative, said she found a temporary location for the art installation in a non-residential district. She said the city planning commission worked with her to make this possible.

WHQR spoke with Robertson after the meeting.

“The most upsetting part of them taking down the mural was that we couldn't relocate it anywhere with current sign ordinances," Robertson said. "So the fact that they now have an amendment that separates signage from art means that we can relocate it to a new location and that the city of Wilmington is not losing out on the wonderful message that 'Black lives do matter: end racism now.'”

Robertson said the temporary location will soon be announced, and she is still seeking a permanent location for the mural. The change also means other murals can now be in all non-residential areas of the city, which Robertson said is a win for artists.

Grace Vitaglione is a multimedia journalist, recently graduated from American University. I’m attracted to issues of inequity and my reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, I’ve investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast and produced student-led video stories.