“Starry Night” Mural Allowed to Remain

The Mount Dora Florida home, whose wall and house were painted to emulate Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting, is now allowed to keep its artwork. After having been fined $10,000 for violating the Mount Dora sign code, Nancy Nemhauser and Ludomir Jastrzebski filed suit in federal court, for a dispute that began in 2017. On July 17, 2018, Mount Dora agreed to rescind the fines, pay the couple $15,000 for their trouble and allow them to keep the artwork on both a masonry wall and the house itself. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/07/20/florida-couple-wins-battle-to-make-their-entire-house-look-like-van-goghs-the-starry-night/?noredirect=on The story attracted national attention. The link here is from The Washington Post.

One paragraph in the Post article specifically documents the danger of subjectivity on the part of public officials: “In the eyes of a code-enforcement officer, the mural looked like a ‘juvenile-type painting of some sort,’ as the officer told a magistrate, according to court documents. ‘I’m not into that type of artwork,’ the code-enforcement officer allegedly said, arguing that the giant mural violated the city’s ‘sign’ ordinance.”

Wade Swormstedt

Wade Swormstedt

Wade is Executive Director of the Foundation for the Advancement of the Sign Industry. Formerly he was Editor and Publisher of Signs of the Times magazine.

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Posted in 1st Ammendment / Freedom of Speech, Most Popular, News, Sign Codes, Wall Signs.