City of Orlando wants to work with West Art District owners to keep murals

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PHOTO BY JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo by Joey Roulette
The city of Orlando is trying to strike a deal with the owners of the West Art District to keep its artwork after the buildings were cited for violating the city's mural policy.

The owners of the buildings at 1011 W. Central Blvd. were supposed to appear Wednesday, April 12, before Orlando's code enforcement board, which hears testimony and determines whether property owners violated city code. City spokesperson Cassandra Lafser says the hearing for the West Art District property before the code enforcement board was moved to May as city staff tries to resolve the issue in private meetings.

"The City has been proactively trying to make contact with the property owner multiple times to discuss opportunities and options that will allow for art to remain on these buildings," she says in an email. "This is a meeting with staff and the property owner to engage in productive discussions and work towards a solution."

Harrison Rai, the West Art District realtor, says city staff contacted him Monday afternoon to schedule a meeting that would discuss the District's fate under Orlando's jurisdiction. Both Rai and the city are determined to reach a solution that would allow the District's art to remain on its walls.

"They really want to work with us," Rai says, referring to city staff.

The private meeting is one of many urgent attempts made by city officials to settle a legal dispute that originated in January. Located in Orlando's Parramore neighborhood, the West Art District has seen artists from around the world paint on its walls. Rai, who oversees the District’s artistic development, has been bringing in artists since late last year.

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