TAHLEQUAH, Oklahoma - A Tahlequah artist said he's been told to paint over a 15-year old mural on the side of his gallery.

After all these years, the city's calling it graffiti, and the man said he's facing fines if he doesn't comply.

Murv Jacob said he came to his front door and he saw a pink slip from code enforcement, which said there was a violation. He said it was for a mural, but the city said it's graffiti.

Jacob has been a local artist in Tahlequah for 20 years. He remembers when a couple of guys from across the country came to paint the mural on the side of his art gallery back in 2000.

The men painted the mural on the side of gallery, making a lasting impression.

"They're artists, you know, they had a positive message, all of them had a positive as could be message," Jacob said.

He said nobody noticed or said anything until a couple of days ago when code enforcement officer found him in violation of the city's graffiti ordinance.

"It's beyond artwork, it's a sort of rhetoric it's imbedded in the artwork, that's what graphic murals are, they tell a story,” Jacob said.

That story, Jacob said, could be gone next week.

Tahlequah Resident Will Boatman can't believe the city is calling it graffiti and hopes the mural stays up.

"You can imagine these were these elaborate beautiful vivid colors, so yeah this art," he said.

The city's code enforcement officer never got back with us, but the violation says Jacob can face up to a $200 fine, after that it could cost him $200 a day for everyday the mural stays up.

The city has given Jacob ten days to figure out what to do with the wall. There are thoughts that they might have to paint it over and not fight it at all.