The Graffiti Resource Council (GRC) exhibited at the National League of Cities (NLC) 2015 Congress of Cities from November 4-7, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. The NLC conference is the largest gathering of local elected officials and staff in the country, and is designed to offer educational and networking opportunities to increase the effectiveness of local leaders. Over 4,000 officials attended this year’s Congress of Cities and dozens of exhibitors, entertainers and sponsors.
The conference included a keynote address from Vice President Joe Biden and sessions about various issues that cities face including public safety, economic development, education, environment and social justice. This is the second time GRC has exhibited at the NLC Congress of Cities. A majority of anti-graffiti policies and programs are formed by city and local governments, making the NLC an ideal venue for the GRC to meet policy makers. The GRC had the unique opportunity to exhibit and speak with dozens of mayors, city council members and staff about its mission and services it can offer cities facing graffiti vandalism.
The Department of Public Safety in Indianapolis created a Graffiti Abatement Unit to clean up blight related to graffiti. Over the past four months, the program has painted and pressure washed over 200 properties in its pilot season. The program has hired former inmates re-entering society to do the work — mostly covering up gang signs on the sides of buildings. Also, JC Rivera, graffiti artist who uses his murals as brands, covers up gang signs, too. If he sees a building covered in gang signs, he’ll ask the owner whether he can paint over it to create a more community-involved mural. He’s done so most recently in Chicago and Los Angeles.
Many paint and coating manufacturers of all sizes invest in their local communities on a regular basis. In May 2015, PPG Industries announced that it was expanding its investment in global communities where the company operates with the launch of a 10-year, $10 million initiative called “Colorful Communities.” The program will focus on renewal projects that incorporate employee volunteerism opportunities and PPG paints, starting with an initial $50,000 grant to the Propel Schools Foundation to fund a renewal project and support the science program at Propel Schools’ eight elementary schools.Together with community partners and PPG employee volunteers, the program will support projects that transform community assets, such as creating bright murals for libraries, repainting hospital corridors with uplifting colors, and hiding graffiti on community buildings with a fresh coat of paint. PPG expects to complete more than 14 Colorful Communities projects this year around the world. The investment in the Colorful Communities program will be in addition to the company’s current community engagement efforts, which in 2014 totaled more than $5.7 million (from PPG and the PPG Industries Foundation) for hundreds of community organizations across 24 countries.