Sunday, March 13, 2005

Graffiti all over the place


Forward Retreat posted a nice summary of what's happening in Melbourne with regards to graffiti, that I've already mentioned, briefly. However, there's more... Last Tuesday, Anna L. Conti, posted about a two part series about graffiti that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle (Part One here, and Part Two here). And then you're likely to want to read what and how New York City is dealing with graffiti. Which looks suspiciously like what and how they handle things here in Montreal.

I've long advocated (not here, but with the SDB Saint Laurent) that if graffiti is encouraged and helped, than the destructive tendencies of graffiti will be muted. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case might be) nobody has listened to me, yet. If you click here, you can get yourself a copy of Melbourne's proposed graffiti strategy[148 KB pdf file]. The SDB Saint Laurent has even gone so far as to hire someone (who probably is earning about $30K/year) to try to eradicate grafitti. She stopped by the gallery on Friday, and refused point blank to do anything to help Roadsworth. Nothing like making a good first impression, right?

The thing that makes Melbourne's proposal so exciting, is that it "recommends that tolerance towards the presence of graffiti vary according to where it is located. The rationale behind this aspect of the Strategy is that graffiti art has a place within the municipality and that in any case it is not possible to totally eradicate graffiti from the municipality. Therefore a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ across the municipality has no credibility."

Or in other words, "encouraged and helped." You also might want to read some of the Interviews, Articles, and Research about graffiti at Art Crimes. Also, I'm going to be forwarding copies of the Melbourne proposal to a variety of politicians here in town, and see if something similar can be done here.

And as a side note, in going through the city of Melbourne's reports, it does look like an awful lot of things are way cheaper there. They spend $200K removing graffiti, Montreal spends $1 million. They spend $35K on their jazz festival, Montreal spends $500K on ours. And the currency difference is minute.

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