- Associated Press - Thursday, June 19, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A debate is brewing in Chattanooga over whether a mural of doughnuts is art or an advertisement.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/1pM5Eo1) reports a city inspector told Koch’s Bakery owner Barbara Davis on Tuesday that the $11,000 mural has to go because it’s an illegal advertisement. It’s located on a storage building near the bakery, which sells doughnuts, wedding cakes and specialized birthday cakes.

Davis says the mural is art because it has no writing on it, just an image of flying doughnuts.

The city’s ordinance says wall murals aren’t required to have permits from the board unless they include “written trade names, advertising or commercial messages.”

The debate has prompted some local artists to start an online petition asking city officials to clarify the sign ordinance. More than 100 people had signed by Wednesday evening.

“Fight Crime not Art!” the petition says. “Save the Flying Doughnut Mural (and others like it).”

“This is beautifying the neighborhood and everybody wants it to stay,” said Hollie Berry, a local artist who started the petition.

Chattanooga Zoning Inspector Gary Robkin decline to comment, saying he is investigating the matter.

Councilman Chip Henderson said he has asked the city attorney to review the ordinance to see if it needs clarification.

“We want businesses to flourish and we want to incentive businesses at the same time,” Henderson said. “But,” he acknowledged, “somebody has to draw the line between art, advertisement and graffiti.”

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Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, http://www.timesfreepress.com

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