Letter: Don’t cheapen look of Franklin’s historic buildings

To the editor:

The old town of Franklin has the flavor and charm of days gone by when buildings were built for both function and beauty. They stand in stark contrast to the cheap, temporary boxes being built today and recall an era when craftsmanship was highly valued.

Trying to make the old buildings more attractive by adding murals (or giant steers, roosters or elk heads) to them only denigrates their time-worn beauty. I am opposed to allowing artists to paint giant murals on buildings in the old town.

Putting murals on brick buildings is problematic in many ways. Brick is not a good surface for paint. The mortar between the bricks becomes porous, and in time, the paint begins to peel. When this happens the paint must either be removed or repainted. It seems unlikely that the original artists who put up the murals will be available or have the resources or inclination to redo or remove them.

A peeling, faded mural is an eyesore which can make even a well kept building look seedy and run down. When a mural is put on a building there is always the risk of having to live for years with an eyesore and an embarrassment. Removing the paint with chemicals or high pressure water can coarsen and discolor the surface of the brick, especially the soft bricks on century old buildings.

When a large mural is put on a building in Franklin we are all affected in one way or another. If it offends us for its content, or because we think it not attractive, we must live with it nonetheless.

Additions to the city, like murals, alter the persona of the city for those of us who live here, and do so without our input or approval. All such distractions have the effect of lessening our pride in the city.

Murals should be limited to the interior of buildings where they can add beauty and content and last indefinitely. A well-designed and executed mural in a lobby or atrium can tell a story, add color, reveal local history or extol a company’s product or mission, without any of the problems associated with paintings on the outside of buildings.

The city has invested a great deal of money in recent years to improve the look of the buildings in the old town. Let’s not cheapen the work that has been done by allowing artists to put garish murals on the stately old buildings. They deserve the respect age has conferred upon them.

Jim Curry