A concept image shows Nathan Brown’s upcoming mural project at 124 Canal St. in Lewiston. Brown describes the mural as “a wild geometric gradient abstract piece, that plays with depth, dimension and movement, transforming the space, while alluding to the sidewalk continuing into the wall, with interactive 3D elements.” City of Lewiston photo

LEWISTON — The city has changed the location of a planned mural after artist Nathan Brown and The Public Theatre could not reach a compromise on the “artistic style” of a project there.

Brown, a Tennessee-based artist, is slated to create a different mural this summer along Chestnut Street, at a building owned by developer Tom Platz.

While some officials said they are disappointed by the plan to move the mural to a less-visible location, the City Council voted unanimously last week to approve the change.

According to Misty Parker, the city’s economic development manager, the artist and the theater ownership ended up being “a mismatch,” with the theater leaders ultimately not approving of the addition of more abstract elements to the proposed mural.

Brown said his mural at the new location will be “a wild geometric gradient abstract piece that plays with depth, dimension and movement, transforming the space, while alluding to the sidewalk continuing into the wall, with interactive 3D elements.”

The city originally approved Brown’s Public Theatre proposal in November, with public art funding from the federal Choice Neighborhoods initiative. Parker said because Brown had already arranged travel and bought supplies, he remained interested in another option in Lewiston after “no compromise could be reached” with The Public Theatre at 31 Maple St. The tentative start date for the original concept was May 9.


Parker said Brown’s response to the city’s request for proposals noted that, like most murals, the concept would go through several revisions before a final draft, but the theater was “not comfortable with the abstract elements when they saw them.”

A statement Thursday from The Public Theatre said, “The mural artist’s final designs were not in line with our previous discussions and we couldn’t OK the design for our building.”

Brown did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.

During the City Council meeting last week, officials were supportive of the Chestnut Street project, but said the city should still pursue a project at the theater, at the gateway to downtown Lewiston.

“I was really looking forward to something on the theater,” Councilor Bob McCarthy said. “I have to fault both sides in this, and I wonder if we should be getting a new artist instead of a new place. The theater is right there when you come into town, and I’m not a fan of what the theater looks like at this point in time. I think some art would really dress it up.”

A rough concept sketch in 2022 shows Nathan Brown’s proposed mural at The Public Theatre in Lewiston. The city says the artist and The Public Theatre could not agree on the “artistic style and revisions made” to the proposal. City of Lewiston photo

Councilor Linda Scott said she “applauds” Brown for sticking with a project in Lewiston, despite the previous disagreement on style.


“I love the color it will bring to that location,” Councilor Stephanie Gelinas said of the Canal Street building, adding she is “optimistic” something will eventually happen at The Public Theatre building.

“Everyone is in agreement that it’s an amazing building we’d like to see the right art piece on,” Parker said.

Mayor Carl Sheline said while he is “disappointed that the mural won’t be located at The Public Theatre, I appreciate the artist’s flexibility and look forward to a brighter Chestnut Street.”

Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Brown has produced more than 100 large-scale murals for communities across the country and for brands, including Red Bull, Wrangler, Patagonia, Topgolf, WeWork, Google and Spotify.

“The goal has always been the same since day one: To bring people, places and communities together through public visual art, transforming and creating new spaces where there were none before,” Brown said.

A City Council memorandum said Platz of Veridis expressed interest in working with Brown and “was supportive of his abstract mural style.” Brown then developed the new concept, which was approved by Platz for the Chestnut Street wall at 124 Canal St. The Public Art Committee also reviewed the issue and was supportive of the change.

Work on the new mural is expected to begin July 12.

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