You might have seen the hashtag #savehamburgsmural floating around on social media this weekend. If you were wondering what it's about -- here's the story.

Alchemy Wine & Beer is the newest addition to the village of Hamburg's growing number of bars and restaurants. Artist Chuck Tingley created the mural you see below -- and neighboring restaurant John & Mary's is putting up a fence that will cover it.

According to a statement from Alchemy's Instagram, "To our surprise we were informed during it's painting that a fence would be put up in order to keep customers from parking and walking over from the @johnandmaryshamburg lot to the newly paved sidewalk since this could cause liability. Easy to see this perspective. When the owner of @johnandmaryshamburg approached us on this it was done in a very hostile way and not from a place of neighborly compromise or discussion. As responsible business owners we attempted to talk it through many times to come to a mediation that would make most parties happy and keep everyone safe and liability free. We proposed tall shrubbery, a shorter fence, chain link, etc. All options would have allowed @johnandmaryshamburg to meet the end goal. The discussion was shut down completely because as "it isn't our property and its none of our business"

In their statement online, Alchemy Wine & Beer asked for people not to boycott John & Mary's, instead, saying "A successful outcome of this would for the Hamburg business and resident community to be able to have a say in major development decisions such as this and that is what we ask."

According to the Buffalo News, Hamburg Mayor Thomas J. Moses Sr., claims there is nothing the local government can do to prevent the fence from going up. He told the Buffalo News, "It's a shame [to cover up the mural]. There is no way we can stop them."

"I'm just upset because there are other options other than a solid wood fence. I offered to pay for natural shrubbery, chain link," said owner Anne McIntosh to the Buffalo News. "I offered anything that would still allow for her goal, which is to not have people on her property."


The Buffalo News cites the retaurant's permit, saying they have "a permit for 170 feet of 6-foot-tall privacy fence, including 60 feet on the east side of its lot."

Personally, I think this is a bad move for John & Mary's, as other options to solve the parking/walking issue exist, and plenty of people are angry at the apparent lack of cooperation from John & Mary's based on comments on social media. The owner of John & Mary's, Sharon Raymond, has remained silent to the media on the issue. 

Chuck Tingley is an incredibly gifted and well-respected artist (read all about his work here from the Albright Knox website), and I feel the commission of this mural --at the expense of Alchemy's owners-- should be considered a gift to the village of Hamburg and its residents. And you don't cover a beautiful gift up.

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