James Brown mural application process raises concerns


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The old building at the intersection of Broad Street and James Brown Boulevard will soon celebrate one of Augusta’s most iconic celebrities.

“I was only aware of the project because of the news,” said Jeff Riggan.

The Greater Augusta Arts Council is looking for an artist to design and install a James Brown themed mural. The search comes after the council fired the first artist. On December 20th, the council sent out a call to artists’ applications. Riggan says he has questions about the requirements.

“Everyone is on vacation for two weeks,” explained Riggan. “Then, on January 6th, is the first day they are back in the office to answer my questions. On Tuesday, I got the answers, but they were a whole other, peel the onion-back 25 layers deep, on what you have to do to get this job.”

The mural artist tells NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson, there are four full pages of rules for the artist. The arts council is requiring a design proposal and a plan to maintain the life span of the artwork. Riggan says the application even dictates the artist is responsible for community safety and clean up while the project is underway.

“Now I have to get permits to put it here, and I have to get permits to block the sidewalk, and also have to change the pattern cones to get the safety signs to put on each end,” said Riggan. “That’s all stuff for the city to do; they have public works.”

Riggan says before moving forward with the new mural, the city is requiring the winning artist to clean and restore the wall.

“I’m not a special clean up guy that cleans up all the old paint,” said Riggan. “Nobody has taken care of this wall forever. Why is this my responsibility all of a sudden for putting my name in the ring to do a mural?”

The big concern for him is being responsible for debris coming from the wall cleanup and washing into the streets or in the sewer drainage.

“I can’t make a reasonable decision on how to move forward on this mural, because there are too many x-factors involved,” explained Riggan. “And it’s due Monday at 10 AM.”

Before Devin left his interview today with Riggan, he told Devin the requirements were just too hefty. He’ll be pulling his name out of the hat to be the artist on this project.

The application deadline is on January 13th at 10 AM. Online public input will be January 17th to the 27th. Then the winner will be announced on February 5th. Installation may begin on February 6th.

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