Artwork creates furor on Canton St. - North Atlanta Business Post
North Atlanta Business Post Login | Register
Updated Nov 14 @ 1:05PM
 

Artwork creates furor on Canton St.

Historic Preservation Commission takes Roswell restaurant to task

HATCHER HURD/Herald
Ryan Pernice stands outside his restaurant, Table and Main, where the offending mural is painted. He thinks public art should be allowed in the city and especially in the Historic District.
Posted

Ryan Pernice and his brother Daniel own and operate two restaurants on Historic Canton Street – Table and Main and Osteria Matone. Ryan recently had a mural painted on the side of Table and Main and received a letter from the Historic Preservation Commission demanding it be removed. Ryan has taken his battle to social media and has apparently tapped into a groundswell of support.

ROSWELL, Ga. – Ryan Pernice is a restaurateur who has helped make Roswell’s Canton Street the trendy place to be in North Fulton. But his decision to opt for a mural on the side of his restaurant Table and Main has put him afoul of the city’s Historical Preservation Commission.

Sitting down at a table, he explained how he was just trying to marry the elan of Canton Street with the appeal of street art.

“Table and Main will be six years old next week. That is about middle age for a restaurant. We wanted to give the place some fresh appeal,” he said.

Pernice says he knows the restaurant business having learned it cooking at Fred Castallucci’s restaurant The Roasted Garlic when he was just 13.

“I realized early on I would not be good enough to be a chef, but my dad who had been in revenue management told me I could go to school and learn about the business side of running a restaurant,” he said.

So that is what Pernice did, and Table and Main has been the result. With his brother, Daniel, they operate Asteria Matone, also a restaurant on Canton.

“This is my baby, but like any business, restaurants have a life cycle. I have to do what I can. After six years, it is no longer new. It’s not fresh.”

Pernice says he sees public art as a way to keep the vitality of the business flowing.

“You have to keep being relevant. Public art is a way to do that.”

The city has already embraced public art with installations in parks and in front of buildings.

“I understand it has to be something culturally appropriate. I was inspired by what they’ve done at the Roswell Mill,” he said. “I understand there has to be standards and things should be tasteful. But something bright and pretty adds interest to the space.”

It is a way to get people to look at the building in a new way. Pernice admits he didn’t go through the Historic Preservation Commission for permission, but then he didn’t think he had to.

“I realize now I should have gotten a certificate of appropriateness from the HPC. But I am just applying one of the approved colors to the side of my building,” Pernice said.

“There is no stipulation for exterior paint to be certified.”

Meanwhile, he wants to give the people new and fresh reasons to come to his establishment.

“My job is to seek attention and exploit a vacuum. This is an exciting time and place,” he said.

Pernice said he would like to see a public art commission that would support public art and act as the final arbiter over what is appropriate and what isn’t.

“If we had such a committee, I would go in front of it and accept whatever decision they gave,” he said.

While Pernice is trying to keep his business successful, HPC Chairman Tony Landers said there is a board to look at mural appropriateness.

“It is the entire membership of the Historic Preservation Committee,” Landers said. “Murals are subject to review by the commission as a whole.”

Landers pointed out a temporary mural was approved last year on Go With the Flow’s wall during Black History Month. He said that mural was “extraordinarily well done” and was appropriate for the district.

“They came to us prospectively, told us what they wanted and when they would take it down. We don’t have a problem with murals. But the HPC does have oversight,” he said.

Pernice put up his mural and then came asking after the fact, Landers said.

“We didn’t feel the mural had any historical reference or context. It was not appropriate,” said Landers. “To assert HPC only chooses permitted colors is just not true. He says the HPC should encompass public art. It does. But maybe he ought to discuss the guidelines first.”

And while Pernice has his opinion about what should be permissible in the district, that is a layman’s perspective, Landers said.

As the city is set up, only the HPC is the arbiter of what is correct for the district. Should the City Council set up a public art commission, then the HPC will gladly step back, Landers said.

“Everyone is open to making the process better. Everybody is pursuing excellence for the district,” he said. “Most of the people who have seen [Pernice’s mural] can’t say what it depicts.”

Landers said he wished Pernice had come to the HPC first before putting up the mural.

“It might have produced a result he would have been happier with.”

2 comments on this story | Add your comment
Please log in or register to add your comment
wrote:

I do not understand why there is such 'fury' over this mural. Where is the fury of a monsterous parking garage at the end of Canton or the God awful ugly wall at the end of N. Coleman? You are complaining because the owner did not get permission but did you get permission from the residents and business owners to build more than the street traffic can handle? It can take us up to 5 lights just to turn right from N Coleman to Pine Grove and now you want to build a hotel at Wells Fargo. I could go on but get a grip the mural is tasteful and is not bothering anyone but you and your want of keeping the historic feel to Canton - your committee and the city officials have pretty much thrown those rules out the window.

I am also wondering what happened to all the other negative comments I was reading this morning? I did not feel the need to write mine as they covered everything plus more than what I have said but since they are no longer online I felt I had to make my comments. I'll wait and see if mine disappears too. Saturday, September 16|Report this

wrote:

I do not understand why there is such 'fury' over this mural. Where is the fury of a monsterous parking garage at the end of Canton or the God awful ugly wall at the end of N. Coleman? You are complaining because the owner did not get permission but did you get permission from the residents and business owners to build more than the street traffic can handle? It can take us up to 5 lights just to turn right from N Coleman to Pine Grove and now you want to build a hotel at Wells Fargo. I could go on but get a grip the mural is tasteful and is not bothering anyone but you and your want of keeping the historic feel to Canton - your committee and the city officials have pretty much thrown those rules out the window.

I am also wondering what happened to all the other negative comments I was reading this morning? I did not feel the need to write mine as they covered everything plus more than what I have said but since they are no longer online I felt I had to make my comments. I'll wait and see if mine disappears too. Saturday, September 16|Report this

+ New Business Spotlight
Business name: Designer Home ComfortAbout: Designer Home Comfort is a furniture store that specializes in leather and hardwood living room and dining room furniture. They feature products from …
+ New Business Spotlight
Business name: Deka LashOwner: Cornell L. Lewis Jr.About: Deka Lash is an eyelash extension studio specializing in individual eyelash extensions. The additionally offer eyebrow Microblading.Opened: …
Latest Local News
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – The Johns Creek Rotary Club, along with Emory Johns Creek Hospital and Emory Winship Cancer Institute, rolled out the runway Oct. 8 at the Atlanta Athletic Club for the annual …
+ New Business Spotlight
Business name: Delta Community Credit Union Alpharetta Branch About: Delta Community Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative with a mission of providing better service and value on the …
+ New Business Spotlight
Business name: Roswell BarbellAbout: Roswell Barbell is a 5,200 square foot “state of the past” strength training facility for powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, bodybuilders and …