Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Denounced Over Faint Suggestion Of Nipple, Cherokee Street Mural Turns Critics Into Fans

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Page 2 of 2

  • Danny Wicentowski

The violation notice was a mistake, admits St. Louis Building Commissioner Frank Oswald.

The error, he says, came from a "relatively new" inspector who may have been confused by the mural's proximity on the wall to actual advertisements for a nail salon and rental center.

"The inspector in that area received a citizen's service bureau complaint, and he originally sent out a violation letter telling them to get a permit," says Oswald. Apparently, the inspector thought Prime was an advertisement of some kind.

"His supervisor realized that there was not any advertising or endorsing of a company, which actually throws it into classification as public art. So we just abated the letter of violation."

  • Danny Wicentowski

Despite a few knee-jerk overreactions and a city inspector's minor blundering, the mural has gained wide acceptance in the Cherokee community, says Cara Spencer, who runs the Nebula Coworking Space.

"As it was being built and unfolded, I received a considerable amount of feedback. A lot of overwhelmingly positive feedback but also a lot of negative feedback as well, from churches and neighbors," says Spencer.

"What was really really interesting," she reflects, "was the moment it was finished, the barrage of communication didn't stop, but the negative communication stopped entirely."

Though Prime has endured more than her fare share of unwarranted criticism, this is still a step up for the Cherokee neighborhood and its evolving relationship to its street art. By comparison, in 2006 the vice president of the Cherokee Station Business Association tore down a Cherokee Street mural with her bare hands.

"This type of art is something that's still very new to people, and people didn't know what to expect," muses Spencer. "But at the end of the day, Prime is a really lovely piece. I think people really came around the final product."

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 28, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation