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How Do I Get Permission To Paint a Mural? 

How Do I Get Permission To Paint a Mural? 

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Have you ever seen a mural along the road? A large painting on a wall that grabs your attention with its colors and message.

Murals are often meant to entertain or educate. One moment, you can be laughing at the satire in one and the next moment you’re deep in thought, pondering life’s issues.

You can paint murals onto any permanent surface like wooden or concrete walls, ceilings, etc. You can paint murals on the wallpaper, but they will get damaged easily. 

You can paint a mural by yourself with a projector. There are some things you need to do first to stay out of trouble. 

This article will discuss mural permits, if you need one, and what you need to obtain them.

What is a Mural?

an example of mural

Any artwork painted directly onto a wall, canvas, ceiling, or other surfaces is referred to as a mural.

Some people prefer their murals to be done on canvas first and then transferred onto the intended surface. However it is done, it is still a mural. 

Murals are mainly created with paint. To give the painting a hyper-realistic or 3D appearance, the surface’s components are integrated into the painting.

Painting a mural involves a long process (depending on how complicated your art is), equipment, and sometimes a permit.

In the next section, we’ll determine which murals need planning permits. 

Do I Need Permission To Paint a Mural?

permission: yes or no

There is no straight answer to this question. Considering the location and purpose of painting the mural, you may have to obtain a permit.

In some states, murals are only permitted for advertisements and cannot be put up in residential areas. They are required to fit certain sizes and specifications. 

There are types of murals that need permits, but the rules differ according to state. 

Go to your city council to find out the laws and provisions concerning painting a mural in your state.

Painting on Private Properties

_mural on an old private house

If your designated background is private property, the first permit you require is one from the property owner. 

If the owner is a fan of the arts, this may be easy for you. However, some may be skeptical due to the wrong perception that murals attract criminal elements. 

Murals for advertisements need planning permits. This is a must for all listed buildings, private or otherwise. 

Certain advertising murals are exempt from permits once they are displayed in line with the state regulations. These include:

  • Advertisements for governmental announcements or directions
  • Advertisements for identification or warning concerning the building or land it is painted on.
  • Advertisements relating to persons or companies carrying on a business or profession on the premise. 

Painting on Public Properties

2 murals on 2 buildings

For public or city establishments, obtaining a permit doesn’t just cut it. You may also need to get the proposed mural approved by the City Council. 

If you are painting a mural on behalf of the city, planning permission may not be required. Murals created in partnership with the city also enjoy this exemption. 

How Do I Get Permission To Paint A Mural?

a person signing in a paper

The process of obtaining a planning application can be tedious and time-consuming. This isn’t always the case because in some cities it may be simple and streamlined.

You have to apply for a permit from the city council. This application must contain  the information listed below:

  • A plan detailing the building dimensions and the intended location of the mural
  • A colored drawing of the mural to be painted
  • Permission from the owner of the property on which the mural is to be painted.
  • Timeframe for the intended life of the mural and a removal method
  • A signed undertaking by the artist that the painting process would result in no permanent damage or negative effect to the surface to be used. 
  • A signed agreement to remove the mural if it reaches the intended lifespan or if poorly maintained. 

Your city may require slightly different information, so find out from the city council before turning in your application. 

Getting approval for a mural permit isn’t certain even after applying. Not all applications make it past review. 

The review requires that your application tally with certain regulations for installing a mural. The regulations cover the design size and type, location, eligibility, etc. 

Are Murals Public?

a public mural at the corner of a building

You will come across murals in very public places, such as street walls, directly on the asphalt on pedestrian and automobile paths, and sometimes in subways.

There are several types of murals and they serve different purposes. Murals painted and displayed on the street could be for festivals or memorial celebrations.

Murals also include those done inside people’s houses for decorative purposes. They can be in the sitting room, bedroom, or outside of the building, as requested by the owner.

Murals can increase property value. To get the best results, make sure a professional muralist or famous artist does your mural. 

Some murals are painted in private parks, recreational centers, galleries, or museums. Just like the others, these can be decorative or put up as a paid attraction.

How Long Does It Take To Paint a Mural?

a man painting a mural out of the house

There are certain steps to execute before painting a mural. You have to prepare the chosen surface to make it smooth, clean, and ready to be worked on. 

If you are using a textured wall surface, you will need to scrape it to smoothen it. It can be quite tasking to paint fine details on rough and bumpy walls.

In some cases, however, textured walls provide extra detail. Integrating the rough areas into the design can add an amazing 3D effect.  

Good artists can paint around such imperfections as cracks or indentations from blunt force. However, a smooth surface is ideal.

If there is a specific color for the art background, the wall will need to be prepared and painted in that color.

After this preparation, murals take about 2 to 3 days to paint. It may take more or less time. 

The exact duration depends on several factors including:

  • Size
  • Location
  • Surface
  • Detailing required
  • Type of paint
  • Artist’s speed and experience
  • The complexity of the art

If you want to have a mural painted, you should book one that can be completed within a timeframe that suits you. 


Why is a Legal mural better?

Some street artists paint murals without obtaining the required permits. These are done for entertainment, showmanship, or as a form of protest.

If a mural is painted illegally, it is regarded as vandalism by the law. You can’t justify your actions regardless of how beautiful and artistic the mural is. 

Legal and illegal murals are valid ways to spread your ideas. However, it is best to obtain permits so that you can perfect your work without the fear of getting caught. 


people gather at a public mural

Due to the processes involved, it can be tasking to paint a mural. 

However, the need for mural permits is for societal benefit. Murals can be invasive if done without owners’ permission.

Contracting a good artist is the key to a seamless and flawless process. If you want to DIY, there are projectors for painting murals that you can use.

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