rb IFF Mural 051116A scan from a flyer given out at Wednesday’s council meeting shows a rendering of the proposed mural, at left, and the building it would go on. At bottom right is a 150-foot-tall mural the artist, Misha Tyutyunik, helped create in SoHo. (Click to enlarge)


HOT-TOPIC_03A prominent black wall in downtown Red Bank may soon be covered with a two-story-high, somewhat psychedelic mural.

The borough council greenlighted the makeover Wednesday night after an organizer of a film festival scheduled to hit town this summer offered it as what he called a “gift” to the town.

The mural would be painted on the west-facing wall of  74-76 Monmouth Street, near Maple Avenue, which is home to the Ritz Hair Salon, Fernando’s Shoe Repair and Elsie’s Subs. For years, the wall featured an ad for a hair salon before it was painted over some time ago.

Building owners Chris Covert and Trish Reddington, who also own Elsie’s, have given their consent to the project, said Ocean Township resident Jay Webb, organizer of the Indie Street Film Festival scheduled for five days in July with screenings at multiple locations.

Brooklyn-based artist Misha Tyutyunik, who was involved recently in the creation of a 15-story mural on a hotel in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, created the design, said Webb.

Webb characterized the mural as “a gift to the borough by artists and filmmakers.” Its two-to-three-day execution, he said, would be a “community event,” possibly involving students from Red Bank Regional.

A portion of the image that touts the festival will “most likely” be painted over after the event, though the mural itself could last 15 to 20 years, he told the council.

“We would take it down” if the council requested, Webb said. “To us, it’s more about the process than the final piece. I think it would behoove the town to keep it up.”

But the governing body, which in the recent past has wrestled with murals and signage, had no reservations about the proposal.

“It’s a great idea,” said Councilwoman Kathy Horgan. “Why do we even have a mural ordinance?”

Borough Administrator Stanley Sickels said the law came into being to clarify the blurry overlap of art and commercial messaging.

“It’s in the eye of the beholder,” he said. “What’s a mural, what’s grafitti, when does it become a sign?”

“It seems like a classic instance of government getting in the way,” said Councilman Mark Taylor.

The council gave unanimous approval to a waiver allowing the mural to go up and remain through September, by which time the governing body should revisit the ordinance, suggested borough Attorney Jean Cipriani.

For more details about the Indie Street Film Festival, see redbankgreen’s coverage here.