If you're ever driving around the neighborhoods of West. St. Paul, you probably won't have a hard time spotting the mural on homeowner Ryan Weyandt's wooden fence.
Big, bold letters spell out "Black Lives Matter" over a rainbow splash of vivid colors. But it turns out they may be a little too vivid, as the city is now demanding Weyandt paint over the mural. He got the news this past week:
Weyandt, who commissioned the artwork last summer, writes that it violates the city's "sign policy," as it was "considered a political sign until after the election, but now needs to come down."
In the above post, from April 7, he talks of plans to paint over it with the help of neighbors, but the latest reports indicate that the mural's future may be uncertain.
As the Star Tribune reports, Weyandt could be facing stiff fines if he doesn't remove it by April 15, but with friends and neighbors suggesting a wide range of alternate solutions — including crowdfunding to help pay the fines, donating the fence to a museum or making it a public art installation elsewhere — Weyandt says "he hasn't yet decided what to do."
As the paper notes, the piece also violates an ordinance restricting fences to "one uniform color," while the city's code enforcement team has received more than 20 complaints about the mural in the past several months.
In the meantime, Weyandt has found himself — and his fence — at the center of local, national and even international news. On Facebook, he shared his reaction to having made the New York Times as well as the Guardian in the United Kingdom: "Wow."
According to his Facebook page, Weyandt is the CEO and founder of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, a nonprofit of industry professionals aimed at "empowering the LGBTQ+ community on their path towards and enjoyment of homeownership."