Art community petition adds fuel to floodwall mural maintenance controversy


Reporter- Mychaela Bruner
Photographer- Barry Stevenson


The petition letter surprised not only Mayor Kaler - but also flood wall mural project coordinator Ro Morse.

Montgomery said, "Now, I know it has to be patched from time to time, but it should be done by somebody that's in the same style and doing exactly the same type of work as Robert Dafford."

Dafford trusts and directs artist Herb Roe.

Kaler said, 'It bothers me somewhat that they seem to be so against the man that has maintained these murals all these years and is trained and endorsed by Robert Dafford and of the 400 murals all over this country all of them are maintained by Herb Roe or someone approved by Robert Dafford, only in Paducah has this come up."

The petition, drafted by the Paducah Art Community, also addresses the issue: Why use Roe when another artist will do it for less.

"These are his murals, his style of painting, and that he should have the final word in the qualified artist he chooses to maintain these murals," said Kaler.

A representation of a small art town's creative differences.

Kaler said city commissioners are scheduled to meet this Tuesday to vote for the second time.


Morse said, "One of the things, that we find a little troubling is that this isn't somebody that's unknown, this is someone who's a professional artist."

Former Paducah Mayor Gerry Montgomery dedicated a mural to her husband.

PADUCAH, Ky— The river front murals are back in the hot spot again. Since the late 90's the flood walls, designed and painted by Robert Dafford, have brought people to Paducah.  After years of wear and tear, the flood wall is in need of maintenance. The question is, who has the right to make these touch-ups? City commissioners issued a $24,800 ordinance on Monday to pay artist Herb Roe to continue doing the work.  However, community members started an online petition that urges the mayor to cut down on costs by hiring a qualified, local artist to maintain the flood wall.

The petition letter addressed to Mayor Gayle Kaler states... "Paducah, a town with art as its primary tourist basis, has a huge resource of local artistic talent. With the flood wall murals needing restoration, is it not fair to ask a qualified local artist to do the work?"