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City Commissions Murals To Fight Graffiti

September 14,2010 by: admin

San Francisco has finally found a new way to get rid of graffiti vandals in a very creative way. Pave way for the StreetSmARTS, the city’s new program that would call the street artists to paint the walls of some buildings.

The city entrusts respected San Francisco street artists to create major murals – paintings done on walls – for owners of private properties victimized with graffiti. The program coordinators state that the credibility of the artists applied in the community of street-art will act as a restraint against the graffitists. The higher the status of artist, the lesser the vandals will destroy the murals.

Luis Cancel, director of Cultural Affairs of the San Francisco Arts Commission, have helped in putting the program together. He said that the opportunists – graffiti artists who put their names up anywhere, as he quotes – won’t touch the murals out of respect for the artists who painted them.

Rose Food Mart dwells one of the murals which portrays a beautiful Aztec dancer with a full headdress together with the Mexican emblem. The mural was painted by Max Ehrman, an arts consultant. The mural dimensions are most 38 feet width and 15 feet length.

The program begun as a trial program that took place in January. It was created by San Francisco Arts Commission and Department of Public Works. They decided to enlarge the program and increasing the fund three times its original amount totaling $150,000.

The program was patterned with what happened in Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia. For instance, a similar program in Philadelphia, which begun in 1984, has produced about 3,000 murals. Jane Golden, the Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program Executive Director, said that it has been a profound change to what was thought as Philadelphia’s “social epidemic”.

Cancel reported that the StreetSmARTS have painted ten murals so far and is expecting to add 15 more for the following months. He said that the expenses are divided between the property owners and the city. And after the completion of the murals, the artist is in charge for protecting the murals from graffiti.

Law-enforcements, on the other hand, state that the program is too restricted to battle the graffitists in the city.

It is a step, not a solution, said Christopher Putz, the head of the Police Department’s Graffiti Task Force in San Francisco. He said that graffitists also target other properties that areas that may not be entirely painted with murals such as parking signs, park benches, monuments and fire hydrants. He also said that some painted murals which have been tagged with graffiti have had to be stripped down.

Some of the property owners in San Francisco still think that StreetSmARTS is one of the crucial elements in battling the graffiti problem.


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