An Adelaide mayor has expressed her disappointment over “online vitriol” she says has erupted over a piece of public art.

The Holdfast Bay council has received a petition from a very small number of local residents against a mural painted on a concrete seawall along South Esplanade at Glenelg.

Holdfast Bay mayor Amanda Wilson told ABC Radio Adelaide both a resident and the artist had been “targeted online” since the residents’ complaint was reported in the media.

She said while the rhetoric she had seen did not necessarily involve swearing, she felt the artist and the resident had been personally criticised in “negative comments” on social media.

“It’s been incredibly disturbing to see the online vitriol aimed at both of them,” Ms Wilson said.

“Even if we want to change the mural, which we can’t, I’m concerned that if we have the artist back there that we couldn’t provide a safe place for her either, because some of the comments online are so very nasty.”

Amanda Wilson says the public debate about art should not target individuals.(Supplied: Facebook)

Ms Wilson said the artist had worked on the 100-metre mural since February, and had been “overwhelmed” in the past few days.

The mayor said the council welcomed debate about the artwork, which cost $30,000, but said some of the online comments were “distressing”.

Ms Wilson also defended one of the locals behind the petition opposed to the street art, saying she had “followed the right avenues” and was “entitled to complain”.

“She does not deserve to be the butt of so many jokes and vitriol online,” Ms Wilson said.

“A healthy public debate does not denigrate people, individuals.”

A view of the mural from one of the local homes.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

The mayor said the council does not seek public consultation on art it has commissioned.

In their petition, Glenelg South residents asked the council to either remove the mural completely or consult with them on toning down the colours to blend in with the area.

The council noted the petition at a meeting Tuesday night but said the mural would stay.

One of the complainants, Raelene Elmes, told ABC Radio Adelaide the bright colours did not fit in with the landscape.

“In the summertime they haven’t realised that the reflection of the bright colours is what we’re looking at day in, day out — that’s our major concern,” Ms Elmes said.

“People who don’t live and have to look at it 24/7 are going to say it’s a lovely piece of work, and it is.

“Council have just put it in the wrong place.”

Another resident Bernadette Davey, who said she did not know about the petition, said her husband had written to the council when the mural was first being painted to express concerns about a lack of consultation.

She said the council responded by stating it was not seeking consultation, and instead invited them to provide feedback to its next annual business plan.

“It’s a bit of a loophole,” Ms Davey said.

“We were very despondent with the response from the council.”

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