Is it a sign or not? You decide.

Is it a sign, or art? You decide.(Photo: KUTV)

Is it a sign or not? It was questioned causing quite the controversy in South Salt Lake. Shae Petersen is a well-known artist in Salt Lake City, He's been hired to paint dozens of murals across the Wasatch Front, I did a tiger for Lagoon that's about 60-feet tall. I did a portrait for BYU for one of their players,” he said. Petersen has been a professional muralist for several years, “It is art, and people love it, it's public art, it lights up the city.”

It's how he makes a living, but back in September, a project he was asked to do in South Salt Lake is no longer on the table, “There was an approval that needed to be done based on the type of business. In this instance, though it was the first time I had an arts council approve it or the city planner approve it

that's never happened before,” he said. The business is a gentleman's club, which according to South Salt Lake City's Code falls under certain restrictions. The city sent the club owner a letter dubbing the mural a sign and therefore not approving it and said in part "Signs are limited to alphanumeric copy only" something Petersen said is finding a loophole, “They don't want to draw attention to the business because of the type of business it is,” he said.

The image he and the owner agreed on he said was approved by the South Salt Lake Arts Council verbally and he felt wasn't offensive. But he is willing to change it, he just wants to paint the wall, “I wasn't necessarily tied to doing that specific image or not. If we can come to terms with something they feel comfortable with, I am happy to do that,” he said,

Petersen said he has filed an appeal and a hearing is scheduled with the city January 12th, if they don't change their minds he said he will file a lawsuit.

He also started an online petition, you can click here for more information.

KUTV reached out to the South Salt Lake City Planner for comment but didn’t hear back.

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