How Art & Graffiti Impact Downtown Denton's Historic Buildings

While exploring historic downtown areas, we often see art in many forms — wall art murals, interactive window displays, sidewalk art, and even individualized store signs. 

Though art is often seen as an improvement in our historic areas (including many authorized murals in Downtown Denton), some forms of art that are often seen as unconventional, such as graffiti and stickers, can sometimes negatively affect the historic fabric we work hard to preserve.

As a patron who just enjoys coming downtown, a building owner, or a business owner, you might wonder how you can help. Here are some great tips from the City of Denton's Historic Preservation Officer. 

How art and graffiti impact historic buildings


How Does Art Impact Historic Buildings?

Many of our historic buildings around the Denton square are constructed of masonry, such as brick and stone. This masonry is porous, meaning the material has many small holes or spaces for liquid or air to pass into. 

When we paint or use any type of colored substance on these materials, that substance can ultimately become trapped in the pores — potentially staining the building and its masonry for many years to come. 

However, when we think of adhesives, we do not think of them as doing “damage” to these solid materials (i.e. stucco or brick). Yet the adhesives from stickers or tape can leave behind a residue, and in some cases remove paint, not only negatively affecting the masonry but also those elements, such as the lampposts and kiosks, that contribute to our downtown’s historic fabric. 


Process of Removing Unauthorized Art

Once a substance enters the pores of the material, we cannot just use water alone to remove the remnants. We will need non-wired bristled brushes, water, and mild detergents. In some instances, special soap products specifically for masonry use will be required, making the removal potentially more expensive and time consuming. 

That’s why removing graffiti is usually a job best suited for trained maintenance crews or professional conservators, to prevent damage to historic masonry. 

The City of Denton currently has a free graffiti removal service that can be utilized by residential and commercial property owners. Visit the City’s Code Enforcement/Property Maintenance page, look under the “Helpful Documents” section, and there you will find the Graffiti Removal Permission Slip and the #DentonCleanUp document. The #DentonCleanUp document also provides members of the public with three different ways to report graffiti to the City, such as the Engage Denton app. This app can also be used to report any additional damage seen in and around Downtown Denton.  


Want to Add Your Art to Downtown Denton?

If you want to contribute your art to improving our historic downtown district, please email Building Safety at or call 940-349-8360


Preserving the Art of the Past

Remember that many of Downtown Denton’s buildings and infrastructure serve as historical pieces of art, providing a “sense of place” and telling a meaningful story. 

With this in mind, please always be mindful with your art — it may negatively impact the art of the past as well as the future. 


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