Art or ad? Owner of Wilson restaurant may be forced to remove massive mural
Posted May 29
Wilson, N.C. — The owner of a bar and restaurant in Wilson says the city is painting too broad a brush over his new mural.
Morkos Youssef said he hired an artist friend to create a mural on the side of his restaurant, Brewmasters. It is 12 feet by 85 feet of cinder block that is now transformed into a work of art.
But the city said the mural serves as an advertisement because it spells out the name of the restaurant in big, bold letters.
Under city code, the maximum size for a wall sign is 250 square feet. The one on Youssef's restaurant is four times the size.
Jill Cain, a regular at Brewmasters, said the new mural is a head turner.
"When you come down, you're like, 'Oh, wow, look at that,'" Cain said. "It makes you stop. You're like, 'That's comforting.'"
Wilson's zoning administrator, Rodger Lentz, says the mural alone is entirely fine.
"Regardless of how artistically or creatively it is done, the placement of the name of a business on a wall of that business serves as an advertisement for that business," Lentz said in a statement.
He said that despite the mural's popularity, "the ordinance must be applied fairly and consistently."
"Out of thousands that have commented, the overwhelming majority are for it because it feels like Wilson has dubbed itself as friendly to the arts," Youssef said.
Youssef is appealing the decision to the city's board of adjustment. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.