Grand Forks City Council leaders gave their first approval Monday evening to an ordinance that makes it easier to paint murals on buildings around the city - a small change, but one that could spur the city towards a more colorful future.

The 6-0 vote offers early approval for murals painted directly on buildings, instead of on panels hung on buildings. Along with that small change, the new ordinance creates a set of regulations that prevent murals from containing obscene content or commercial language, but city staff say it's no art cure-all - just a small adjustment to make mural-painting easier.

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The ordinance still requires final approval from the city's Planning and Zoning Commission and another vote from the City Council before passage.

"I hope to see murals all over the city," said City Council member Bret Weber, who represents the downtown area, where much talk of murals and public art has been focused. "When I travel to other cities, even small towns, when I drive east of here and drive through Fosston, one of the things I enjoy about driving through those towns is getting to see those murals."

The city is in the midst of a years-long push to make the city more art-friendly, with the Public Art Commission, a nonprofit that has become the city's partner in the project, expected to place large-scale installations soon around the city.

"(There's) lots of exciting stuff happening in the city and the downtown area, and this is just one of those things," Weber said of the ordinance.

City Council member Crystal Schneider was absent from the meeting.