Murals

Bringing Murals to Woburn

In recent years, there has been a growing interest among property owners, artists, and city officials in incorporating murals into our urban landscape. These captivating artworks have the power to transform ordinary spaces into extraordinary landmarks, enriching our community with color, culture, and creativity.

Acton, MA

The Woburn Planning Department and Planning Board are proposing a zoning amendment to permit murals within the city’s non-residential zoning districts. This initiative aims to invigorate the community through art, by defining and allowing building wall murals citywide. By adopting this amendment, the city aims to boost community pride, improve aesthetic quality, and encourage economic growth through artistic expression.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Why is the zoning amendment being proposed?

A: The proposed zoning amendment aligns with the longstanding support of the Woburn Redevelopment Authority for enhancing the visual appeal of the downtown area as well as the rest of the City. The creation of a City-wide mural program was identified as a key recommendation in the Local Rapid Recovery Plan and as a priority goal for the WRA for 2023. At their September 26, 2023 meeting, the Woburn Redevelopment Authority voted to support the proposed zoning amendment. Currently murals are not allowed in any of Woburn’s zoning districts. The amendment is proposed to encourage the integration of murals into Woburn’s landscape, recognizing their potential to beautify spaces, promote community engagement, and reflect the city’s cultural diversity.

Needham Heights, MA

Q: What changes are being made to the zoning ordinance?

A: The proposed changes include adding a definition for murals, revising the definition of signs to distinguish them from murals, and updating use regulations and notes to allow murals by right in specific commercial zoning districts.

Q: Who is sponsoring the zoning amendment?

A: The zoning amendment is being sponsored by the Woburn Planning Board. Planning Staff worked with the Planning Board throughout the Summer and Fall to develop the zoning language. The Planning Board voted to sponsor the amendment at their December 12, 2023 meeting.

Q: How do murals benefit the community?

A: Murals can transform dull spaces into vibrant areas, fostering a sense of identity and unity. They help to create a sense of place, support local artists, and serve as a catalyst for economic revitalization.

Q: Can the city regulate the content of murals?

A: The city’s regulatory authority is limited to time, place, and manner, not content. This limitation respects First Amendment rights and artistic freedom, aiming to avoid potential legal challenges. The City can regulate the content in murals that are on City property or funded with City money.

Medford Square, MA

Q: Why allow murals citywide?

A: Allowing murals citywide is seen as a step towards making Woburn an inviting and attractive place to live, work, and visit, leveraging public art to create a unique and engaging environment throughout the city. There are buildings across all of Woburn’s zoning districts that would benefit from murals.

Q: Are there plans for murals in the City?

A: Several property owners across the City have expressed interest in painting murals on their buildings. The Woburn Redevelopment Authority is interested in adding murals to the new Pocket Park and elsewhere in the Downtown. If the zoning amendment is passed, City Staff plans to work with the Cultural Council, local arts groups, property owners, and others to create murals in the City.

Read the Proposed Zoning Amendment

Do you have questions or want to learn more? Reach out to Casey Hagerty, the City’s Economic Development Manager: chagerty@cityofwoburn.com or 781-897-5816

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