Denison has adopted some guidelines it wants mural artists to abide by when designing projects in the historic downtown district.

The resolution sets out the goals the city would like to accomplish with the murals downtown.

Denison Main Street Director Donna Dow said it was part of the city’s ongoing alley activation plan.

“At the current time, you go through the Historic Preservation if you want to have a mural,” Dow said. “We felt that more review would be more appropriate at this time. The Main Street Design Committee, the Denison Arts Council and the Main Street Advisory board had been working through this with members of Historic Preservation.”

Dow said things like the life of the mural was a topic. The city wants murals that will last at least five years. She also said minimum property standards need to be conformed. If the building is being worn out, it would need to be addressed. The guidelines call for content to be “family-friendly” and have “general overall appeal.” Murals on privately-owned buildings must reflect the “character, culture and history” of the area and neighborhood.

The original guidelines called for portfolios of artist works to include six pieces of work before being considered. Dow said the city believed that would negatively impact some of the local artists. She requested the council modify the language of the resolution to require a portfolio but not specify the number of works.

Dow said all murals would be approved by the Main Street Advisory board as well as the Historic Preservation Board.

“We have not had a policy in place in the past for mural guidelines,” Denison City Manager Jud Rex said. “This is a whole new thing as there is continued interested in murals downtown we want to lay out what the city’s expectation is for creating murals on private buildings.”

Rex said while it is new territory for the city, he has seen similar policies in place in other cities. He emphasized they are just guidelines. Rex said the city doesn’t want to stifle the creative process of artists by bogging them down too much. The goal is to ensure the mural reflects the historic nature of the city’s downtown.

“We continue to encourage (murals) as a way to reflect the character, culture and history of Denison as well as provide opportunities for visitors to experience art,” Rex said. “There has been an increased interest in creating more murals in downtown Denison and the city decided it would be best to adopt guidelines to ensure future murals are consist with our vision for downtown.”

What do you think of the city adopting guidelines for artists? Let Denison area reporter Richard A. Todd know by sending email to He can also be reached on Facebook and Twitter @RichardAToddHD.