LAWTON, OK (KSWO) –Murals are one of many ways to brighten up an area that would otherwise be a blank wall, and Lawton is no different when it comes to showing off an artistic side.
The City of Lawton is involved with a total of three murals; the wall on Northwest Fort Sill Boulevard that was created several years ago by Lawton's younger artists and the bridge near Northwest 52nd Street and Quanah Parker Trailway that was done in conjunction with CDBL.
The third mural is on the side of the Lawton Fort Sill Art Council at Northwest 17th Street and Ferris Avenue. The building is owned by the City of Lawton and is leased out to the Arts Council. The Arts Council had to ask for permission to have the mural, but creating a mural is a fairly straight forward process.
City code defines a mural as a work of graphic art painted or applied to a building wall that doesn't have advertising or logos. "Painted wall signs" are allowed in commercial and industrial districts with a few restrictions.
The only time a mural needs a permit or permission is if it's on a building in the Downtown Overlay district; it would then need to be approved by the Lawton City Council. However, murals and other public art pieces should capture and promote the area it's in.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but most of the Lawton City Council agrees that so long as it's tasteful and blends in with the area, it can be a good idea.
"Tasteful murals in certain locations can be very attractive in communities," said Doug Wells, City councilmember.
Councilmember Dwight Tanner says there's a time and place for everything and mentioned how well concrete manhole covers in Midwest City looked. Those manhole covers were painted by grade school students and depicted children playing and insects.
"I like the mural to the west of Lawton High School on the block fence that the school art department panted a few years back. Before they painted (the) mural, it was a common spot for graffiti tagging, but since the mural has been painted I don't think there has been a problem with graffiti," Tanner said.
Rosemary Bellino-Hall, one of the councilmember's who often encourages projects across the city to increase beautification, says murals are a great way to add character and brand the community.
"Definitely a great idea, especially if they mirror a little of the history of Lawton and are done well. They can add character and uniqueness to a community and brand the community. Buffaloes are a great idea. We do not promote the refuge like we should. It is a great asset for our community," Bellino-Hall said.
In addition to the many murals spread across the city, many businesses, city buildings and private parties have added bison statues to their landscaping.
Some of Lawton's murals have been around for years, some have been recently added to blank walls, a few have been covered up and replaced and more are sure to come.
7News app users can click here to see the slideshow of Lawton murals.