Neighborhood Watch (Arts Edition): No-Go for Peck Mural in Georgetown
The Issue: A proposed mural by Byron Peck that would have decorated the Eagle Bank on Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown was rejected by the Old Georgetown Board last week, after Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E adopted a resolution against it two weeks ago. The three-member board reviews semipublic and private design plans in Georgetown, and makes recommendations to the federally appointed Commission of the Fine Arts. Peck's work is well known in District, and includes the mural of Duke Ellington on U Street NW and the giant mural of District destinations inside Metro Center.
Not the Right Look: Bill Starrels, the ANC commissioner who represents the bank's single member district, says the mural "wasn't keeping with the nature of the neighborhood." Starrels says that the mural is "too big, too bold" for the area. But Thomas Murphy, the president of retail banking at Eagle Bank, says the Old Georgetown Board rejected the mural proposal was because they felt "it was an advertisement for our bank." Murphy says: "Our intent was to make an artistic gift to the neighborhood...the design in no way included our eagle logo or name ... [the mural] could be on any bank in the city." Peck also defended his design: "We have been doing murals with wildlife and eagles around the city for years," he says. This isn't the first time one of Peck's proposed murals has caused a tussle: Residents of Mount Pleasant bickered in January over his proposal for a community mural in that neighborhood. Members of the Old Georgetown Board did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
What's Next: It seems doubtful that there will be mural at 1044 Wisconsin Ave. in the near future. Murphy says that the bank will "likely not do a mural if it does not have an eagle," and it is unlikely that the Old Georgetown Board will give its approval as long as there is one present.
Designs courtesy Byron Peck