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In support of a Town Meeting article that distinguishes murals as art rather than commercial-message signage

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To the Editor and Readers of Saugus Advocate,

  Joe Vecchione, Planning Board member of Saugus, was a special guest to the Saugus Cultural Council’s February meeting to hear him advocate for public art in the Town of Saugus.

  On this call, Vecchione educated the Council about Saugus’s signage bylaw that has effectively constituted any image on a building as signage, which has ultimately banned public art. The ongoing debate of Cap World’s mural has opened the opportunity to distinguish murals as art rather than commercial-message signage.

  I joined the Saugus Cultural Council in late 2021 after moving to Saugus, wanting to support and elevate the cultural life in this town. I quickly noticed that there wasn’t any public art in Saugus unlike its neighboring towns and cities that have embraced public art as an instrument to bridge connections within a diverse community.

  As a fine arts major and arts advocate, I have seen first hand how public art can unify a community regardless of race, age or ethnicity, and be a direct investment to the social impact of a town or city and its residents.

  With Vecchione’s work to request a review of the signage bylaw to permit the creation of public art, this opens a future with our community and neighboring members for many arts initiatives that we have yet tapped into as the Saugus Cultural Council.

  I, as a Saugus Cultural Council member and personally, support this article and look forward to hearing it addressed in this month’s town meeting.

With full support,

Tori Darnell

Treasurer

Saugus Cultural Council

(Editor’s Note: This letter relates to Article 31 on this month’s Annual Town Meeting warrant. The purpose of the article as authored by Precinct 2 Town Meeting Member Joe Vecchione is to amend the Saugus Zoning By-Laws to distinguish the definition of signs, murals and public art installations to allow for the creation of new Original Art Murals, Public Art Installations and the preservation of Vintage Original Art Murals on public and private property in commercially zoned districts without being calculated as part of the signage dimensional regulations or color regulations set forth in Section 7.4 of the Saugus Zoning By-Laws. This article also seeks to create an approvals process for murals and public art installations which codifies the procedures, design criteria, construction and maintenance guidelines for “approved arts projects” in the Town of Saugus.)

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