'Freedom Of Expression': Oklahoma City Gives Muralists More Freedom With New Ordinance

'Under a new ordinance, The City of Oklahoma City will have less oversight on murals painted on private property, allowing artists more freedom.

Sunday, February 18th 2024, 6:29 pm



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Under a new ordinance, The City of Oklahoma City will have less oversight on murals painted on private property, allowing artists more freedom.

Oklahoma City is known around the country for its vibrant street art, and with this new city ordinance, local artists say they're ready to live up to that reputation.

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"I've been painting, probably about 20 years really," Tony Thunder, a local muralist said. "And I’m fortunate to make a living out of it."

His art is who he is.

"Being able to create something out of nothing," Tony said. "Freedom of expression."

Muralists like Tony also want freedom in sharing their art.

"Previously there were several permits that had to be done before you could complete a mural project even on private property," Jesse Warne, Director of the Oklahoma Mural Syndicate, said. "Someone should be able to express themselves on private property with the owner’s permission."

Now, that freedom has been granted by the city in a recent ordinance.

"In almost all cases a property owner can agree with an artist, they can come up with a contract, and the artist can paint the mural on the property without any permitting at all," said Randy Marks. He oversees public art for the City of Oklahoma City and says the new ordinance will allow artists to paint away.

"Oh yeah, really excited," Warne said on behalf of local artists. "People are trying to beautify the city and express themselves. Doing a bunch of paperwork doesn’t exactly get the creative juices flowing."

And as the creativity flows freely, artists and the city hope more murals will pop up.

"Art really helps the city grow," Tony added.

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