Richmond homeowner could pay thousands to remove mural not approved by city

Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 10:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A homeowner in Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood could be paying close to $20,000 to remove a mural on the side of his home because it did not receive proper authorization from the city.

“It seemed like a win-win solution right here in the Art’s District,” Joshua Shaheen, the homeowner, said.

Shaheen said back in November, he allowed a Swiss artist known as Bustart and local artist NILS to transform the side of his home into a life-size piece of art.

He said he only needed to rent a scissor lift for the Monroe Street home to house one of three unique murals in the United States.

“Brooklyn, New York, Richmond, Virginia and Miami, Florida,” Shaheen said.

Because Shaheen’s home is in a historic district and did not get prior approval, he’s been asked to remove it.

At the end of February, Shaheen sent a retroactive application and abatement methods.

According to city documents, the Commission of Architectural Review may tell him to remove the mural at its meeting on Tuesday.

“What I can glean from it is that they want me to pay to have it sandblasted and removed and then the bricks repointed, which will cost just shy of $20,000,” Shaheen said.

According to the commission, the paint may damage the masonry on the home and cause brick spalling, trapping moisture in the bricks over time.

Shaheen said he did this with good intentions and to clean up his area of the neighborhood.

“I would advise that they point their efforts somewhere else instead of a nice, sought-out destination that an international street artist came and put up his own money to paint and this fairly broke home wonder to put up as well,” Shaheen said.

The commission will meet on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. inside City Hall to discuss what will happen next.