Mural Programs

Mural Programs

February 17, 2017 – Washington, DC, MuralsDC Continues its Graffiti Prevention Project

MuralsDC has officially launched its 2017 graffiti prevention project. The MuralsDC program, which is a collaboration between the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the DC Department of Public Works (DPW), is calling on commercial property owners to help combat the growing trend of illegal graffiti by donating wall space for a free mural. DPW is looking for building owners of chronically tagged walls, or those who are located in areas where graffiti is likely. Since its pilot in 2007, MuralsDC has painted more than 50 murals by 43 different artists. This program has helped further the goal of ending the cycle of tagging and preventing future graffiti vandalism within DC. Applications to request a mural can be found here, and more information about the impact MuralsDC has had on the city can be found here.

Source: DC Department of Public Works

February 2017 – Honolulu, Hawaii – POW! WOW! Hawaii! 2017 Shines a Light on Contemporary Art

Artists from across the globe descended upon Honolulu’s commercial district of Kaka’ako to showcase their striking artwork during POW! WOW! Hawaii! 2017. This week-long event brings hundreds of local and international artists together to create a slew of murals and other art forms throughout the city’s district. The event also organizes gallery shows and several arts educational opportunities. The 2017 installation of this event saw colorful murals go up on warehouses all over town. Numerous artists exhibited their work with a concern for the land and environment, while others highlighted Hawaii’s great traditions in vivid marine colors. No matter the artist, each mural that was painted holds significant meaning and purpose.

Source: POW! WOW! Hawaii!

January 2017 – Louisville, Kentucky – Local Businesses Aim to Curtail Graffiti Vandalism by Painting Murals

A group of local artists known as Often Seen Rarely Spoken came together in January to paint a mural in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville. The wall of the warehouse they painted is owned by KFI Seating, a long-time Louisville business. KFI’s owner, Chris Smith, came up with this mural idea after more and more graffiti vandalism popped up in the Portland neighborhood this past year. The mural is painted in bright yellow and black, and expands across two sides of the building at the intersections of Rowan, Bank, and 15th Streets. On one side, the mural depicts the profile of a young man with a band of yellow running over his eyes. Around the corner, a powerful quote from Abraham Lincoln reminds anyone passing by of an important life mantra: “Whatever you are, be a good one.” The city of Louisville and its businesses seem to be catching on to the notion that promoting the painting of murals can help combat graffiti, beautify urban areas, and provide work for local artists.

Source: The Courier-Journal

December 19, 2016—Chicago, Illinois, Graffiti as Public Art on the rise in Chicago

Whether on “permission walls” or commissioned by businesses, many neighborhoods in Chicago are filled with large-scale artworks that, until recently, were relegated to train cars and out-of-the-way places. But in neighborhoods on the near northwest side and near south of the city, fewer and fewer commercial walls are left blank. Partially as an attempt to stem random tagging and partially as an attempt to connect with young locals who may be future customers, businesses and developers are commissioning, or at least allowing, massive works of graffiti on their property. Vandalism in Chicago can lead to felony charges. Yet with more “permission walls,” often designated by the city itself, and property owners allowing for graffiti, the definition of what public art is quickly changing. As developers use graffiti to connect with younger communities, and businesses more regularly use it as street-front advertising, the street-art form is no longer only being associated with the disenfranchised or criminal elements of the city. Instead, perhaps graffiti is on track to skip the fine-arts scene and jump straight into the corporate art world. Whatever the case may be, graffiti is coming out of the shadows, and onto bigger things.

Source: The Architects Newspaper

October 18, 2016—Houston, Texas, HUE Mural Festival Promotes Urban Art

In Houston, TX, the city hosted the HUE Mural Festival to gather local artists in the festival. The event was founded by local graffiti artist Mario Enrique Figueroa. The festival was inspired by Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, which is a destination for muralists and graffiti artists from around the world.

Source: Houston Public Media

August 31, 2016-- Somerville, New Jersey, City Encourages Submissions for Mural Program

The City of Somerville, New Jersey, is hosting an arts festival in September inviting artists to submit their artwork for the festival. During the festival, graffiti artists will create street murals.

Source: TapintoSomerville

July 29, 2016, Wasilla, Alaska, Mural Program Started as Anti-Graffiti Effort

Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle started a program to combat graffiti in the city with a mural program. Artist Holly Gittlein and MyHouse youth volunteers designed the mural after being approached by the city. MyHouse is a nonprofit that serves homeless youth and assists those working to become more self-sufficient. The MyHouse mural should be complete in just the next couple of weeks and once it is, the city will put an anti-graffiti coating over it.

Source: KTVA Alaska

May 20, 2016—Ann Arbor, Michigan, Tree-Themed Art Used to Fight Graffiti

Cate Tinsley, an artist from New York, has unique wall stencils of trees and other patterns that are being used by local business owner Rebecca Arends to help Ann Arbor combat unwanted graffiti, where the art can be placed on buildings being repeatedly tagged by vandals. The stencils have covered some of the most heavily tagged walls in the city with designs in hopes of deterring graffiti—and it is working. Many of the buildings painted with consent from building owners are not being tagged anymore. The Ann Arbor Police Department donated money for the stencils and lined up a grant from DTE Energy to paint the signal boxes. Ann Arbor also has an aggressive abatement program where graffiti is removed within 7 days after notice from the city.

Source: MLive Media Group

May 4, 2016—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jane Golden Awarded for Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

The the founder and executive director of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program was awarded the 2016 Pearl S. Buck International Woman of Influence for her work with the community-based art program. This program has been highly successful at deterring graffiti since its inception in 1986. The murals have transformed the city. Golden has also developed innovative art programs in youth art, education, restorative justice and behavioral health.

Source: Montgomery Media

April 18, 2016—Los Angeles, California, City Deters Graffiti with Art

The South Park Business Improvement District pulled together $10,000 and worked with the Do Art Foundation and Metro Charter Elementary School to spread artwork across an often tagged construction fence that is hundreds of feet long. The collection of black-and-tan patterns and red, white and blue faces with a string of cans for a smile were installed in January. The SPBID reported just two instances of tagging in the two months after the works went up, a decrease of 96%.

Source: LADT News

March 7, 2016—New York City, Murals Used to Help Curb Graffiti

An NYPD police officer who has seen a rise in graffiti in the 24th precinct plans to curb graffiti in the neighborhood with the addition of murals. She also educates local merchants about the Graffiti Free NYC program, a free cleanup service offered to business owners. She also works with a team of high schoolers to paint over graffiti and restore a mural.

Source: DNA info

February 22, 2016—Tucson, Arizona, New Pilot Program for Traffic Box Murals Aims to Reduce Graffiti Abatement Costs

The City of Tucson, AZ is piloting a program that seeks to reduce the costs of graffiti abatement, which is currently $1.6 million. The city is forming a partnership with local bauinsesses and neighborhoods to discourage tagging on traffic signal boxes, which are common targets for taggers. City Councilman Steve Kozachik initiated this project, and the program would solicit designs from the artist community and have murals painted on the traffic signal boxes. The city will discuss the issue at its regular study session and then vote on the resolution approving the program at its evening session.

Source: Tucson News Now

January 28, 2016—Fresno, California, Mural Walls Create Legal Space for Graffiti

Several walls in central Fresno are now covered in fresh graffiti, but it was all put there legally. Artists from across California and Nevada painted dozens of murals at Calwa Park Saturday for the third annual Bizare Art Fest. It's the only location in the Fresno area that gives a legal platform for displaying graffiti art. The event is named after the founder of a well-known graffiti crew, "Lord Bizare."

Source: ABC 30

January 26, 2016—St. Louis, Missouri, Paint Louis Event Brings Up Questions on Difference Between Murals and Illegal Graffiti

Since the 1970s, graffiti as an art form has transitioned from illegal tagging to something even straight-laced art collectors are trying to getting their hands on. Last year, The New York Times held a healthy debate about when graffiti becomes art. Street art icon Banksy has risen to international prominence for his social justice-inspired work. On Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” Van Hoosier joined host Don Marsh to talk about graffiti as an art form as well as the difference between legal graffiti, illegal graffiti, murals and what the St. Louis scene is like in 2016. As Van Hoosier describes it, you can often tell the difference between illegal and legal graffiti in the amount of complexity and layers you see in a painting. Illegal graffiti is often a “tag” or marking by the author made with spray paint on the side of a building or train. Legal graffiti is produced after seeking approval from a city or municipality and often includes several layers of paint, stenciling, and is broader in scale.

Source: St. Louis Public Radio

December 4, 2015 - GRC Grant Recipient Tucson Arts Brigade and Tucson Environmental Services Launch Mural Project to Curb Graffiti Vandalism

Five Tucson artists will paint trash containers throughout the city under a new mural art pilot program intended to help curb graffiti. The Tucson Arts Brigade, working with Tucson Environmental Services, hopes the program will also improve urban aesthetics and ultimately save taxpayers money on graffiti abatement. The five finalists were chosen from 44 applicants who ranged from established painters to first-time muralists. The artists are Johanna Hand, Sasha Lewis, Niki Glen, Porter McDonald and local graphic artist Ruben Moreno. Organizing these projects keeps local residents engaged, Moreno said, and people become impassioned when artists beautify a neighborhood. Plus, the entire process of planning a mural has an overall positive effect, he added. The city invested $5,000 in the pilot program, which was matched by the Graffiti Resource Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit vandalism prevention organization.

Tucson City Councilman Steve Kozachik said city leaders have been working on this program for quite some time. Even though such initiatives may not end the exorbitant cost of graffiti abatement they will certainly help save money as well as beautify the city, Kozachik said. And come next year, Kozachik said, the council will discuss getting the Tucson Department of Transportation and Tucson Pima Arts Council involved with the pilot program. Kozachik said preventing graffiti, or “tagging,” is a costly community issue and the city is looking to soon work with local service providers to help get it under control.

Source: Arizona Daily Star

December 1, 2015 — St. Louis, Missouri, “Paint Louis” and Graffiti Artists Cause Concern over Rise in Graffiti

Complaints about graffiti in St. Louise, MO, are up this year with more than 2,400 requests to remove graffiti from private and public property through late October. This is a 30 percent increase from the same point in 2014. Some members of the community attribute, including Operation Brightside, a nonprofit that has done cleanup and beautification projects, the increase in graffiti to the graffiti artists that are in competition with each other in the City. However, Paint Louis crews spent $1,200 and cleaned up the unsanctioned graffiti, so many also believe it is unfair for the event to be blamed based on the actions of a few people.

Source: STL Today

November 19, 2015 — San Diego, California, Graffiti Education and Mural Arts Program

San Diego and other cities are coming to the conclusion that so-called graffiti artists are really public artists, and often with a little retraining can take an undesirable part of a city and give it a new look and a certain vibrancy. Linda Sheridan, CEO/Founder of the San Diego Cultural Arts Alliance, has put together an initiative called the Graffiti Education & Mural Arts Program that requires violators of anti-graffiti laws are enrolled in a program sponsored by the Justice Department of San Diego County. The San Diego Arts Alliance then takes the graffiti offenders and redirects their energy "into something sustaining and beneficial to the community as well as their individual lives." The goal "is to educate, empower and inspire youth through the arts, along with creating a mural program that gives voice to the community and the spirit of its values. It's education over enforcement and to me, it's a no-brainer," says Sheridan.

Source: Huffington Post

November 5, 2015—Calgary, Canada, Anti-Graffiti Mural Project Improving Neighborhoods

The Windsor Police department and the Drouillard Place worked together to paint an anti-graffiti alley mural painting project in the Drouillard area. This project is part of a crime prevention initiative where they are painting on vacant or abandoned properties to beautify the community. Additionally, Ford City painted a mural for a similar project, partnering with the Unite Way along with local churches. The project has also benefited the community because law enforcement officers who volunteer to help are building relationships with members of the community.

Source: Windsor Star

October 24, 2015—Indianapolis, Indiana, Street Art and Graffiti Abatement Combat Graffiti

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.

Source: Indy Star

October 11, 2015—Salt Lake City, Utah, Businesses Hire Graffiti Artist to Paint Mural to Deter Taggers

A graffiti artist has been hired by local Salt Lake City businesses to paint a 100- foot mural on a wall in a project aimed at deterring graffiti vandalism. The stores had been experiencing vandalism when taggers kept covering the walls in graffiti, and saw the mural project as a solution. One of the store managers stated that there is a lot of respect between the artist community that once something is painted on a wall, they will not tag it again.

Source: Fox 13

October 10, 2015—Texas Artist Opening World’s First Graffiti Museum

In Houston, Texas, a local artist known as “Gonzo” is working on creating the world’s first graffiti museum. He hopes his work will paint a brighter future for the city. Gonzo is also participating in the Houston Urban Experience Festival., where 90 artists from all over the world will legally paint 18 buildings throughout the city.

Source: KHQA

October 7, 2015— Paint Louis Mural Event for Graffiti Artists Faces Scrutiny

The City of St. Louis, MO has seen a significant increase in graffiti vandalism over the past few months. The founder of Paint Louis, a city sanctioned event allowing graffiti artists to paint murals downtown, attributes the vandalism to graffiti artists who want recognition but were not accepted into the Paint Louis event.

Source: Fox 2 Now St. Louis

August 1, 2015—Auckland, New Zealand, Utility Box Art

This article profiles an artist, Paul Walsh, who painted murals on utility boxes throughout the city. Utility boxes are often targeted for graffiti vandalism so projects like these are effective deterrents.

Source: College Humor

August 4, 2015—Pachuca, Mexico, “German Crew” Paints House to Combat Vandalism

The Mexican government hired German Crew to paint 209 house in “rainbow style”, covering 20,000 square feet of homes on a hillside in paint. The efforts have rehabilitated the city so the hillside looks like a unified mural.

Source: Durability and Design

August 1, 2015—Tucson Promotes “Graffiti Walls” and Mural Projects to Deter Graffiti

Because Tucson spends more than $1 million a year to remove graffiti, other communities have found success with programs that prevent graffiti such as legal graffiti walls, utility box murals or other mural projects. City Councilman Steve Kozachik noted that spending money on mural projects which have been proven to reduce tagging is a better investment than increasing enforcement. For example, a mural program in San Diego turns public utility boxes into sanctioned art spaces, and Kozachik is working with local utility companies to launch a similar program in Tucson. Also, the Tucson Arts Brigade, formed in 1995 to introduce the creative arts in Tucson’s low-income schools. TAB has organized multiple large-scale mural art projects throughout Tucson, including the Amphi Community Action Mural Project, the 29th Street Community Mural Project and the Together We Thrive Mural at 316 N. Fourth Ave. From 2009 to 2013, communities that participated in one of the organization’s mural programs saw nearby graffiti decline at least 69 percent, Schwartz said.

This year, the organization is set to paint five trash containers at Tucson’s Environmental Services Center. It is negotiating with the Washington, D.C.-based Graffiti Resource Council to match the $5,000 of local funding.

Source: Arizona Daily Star

June 5, 2015—Houston, Texas, Mini-Murals Deter Graffiti Vandalism

In southwest Houston, a project has begun where murals are painted on traffic control boxes in order to reduce graffiti vandalism.

Source: Houston Chronicle

June 4, 2015—Dayton, Ohio, New Mural Program

The Dayton Police Department discussed how the HALO project murals on the East side of Dayton have reduced graffiti vandalism by 50%. The murals are painted by artists and by kids in the juvenile justice court system.

Source: ABC 22

May 19, 2015—Los Angeles, CA, Mural Project

Project Smile South Central in Los Angeles has allowed artists to paint murals over graffiti-vandalized walls.

Source: ABC7 Eyewitness News

April 30, 2015—Las Vegas, NV, Public Art Project

Local artists organized in Las Vegas to paint over graffiti placed on utility boxes along Maryland Parkway. The utility boxes had originally been painted as part of the Zap 7 public art series, where artists decorated almost 100 utility boxes.

Source: Las Vegas Review Journal

February 20, 2015—Detroit, Michigan, Proposed Fines for Graffiti Vandals and Art Programs

The City of Detroit is considering two ordinances to tackle graffiti vandalism. The first is an ordinance that would require private property owners to clean up graffiti within one week or face a fine. The second ordinance would work with the Detroit Arts and Entertainment Commission to create more art initiatives for local artists. The City is also considering the development of a registry of street art for inspectors to ensure the accuracy of fines.


January 15, 2015—Ontario, Canada, Art Awards to Combat Graffiti

At a public school in Ontario, a series of murals were created by a local artist in order to deter graffiti and also give students a beautiful space to play. The local artist was commissioned to create the murals by the city council’s community committee on graffiti.

Source: The Sault Star

September 5, 2014—St. Louis, Missouri, Paint Louis

Over Labor Day weekend, the city of St. Louis hosted “Paint Louis,” an event where hundreds of street artists came to paint a flood wall in the downtown area.

Source: Durability and Design

July 31, 2014—Melbourne, Australia, Innovative Mural Program

Opinion piece submitted to Telegram giving a first-hand account of the street art a traveler observed in Melbourne as part of the city’s graffiti management plan that provides artists with space for creating street art.

Source: The Telegram

July 30, 2014—Vancouver, British Columbia, Students Paint Mural to Combat Graffiti

Students from a local elementary school painted a mural on a frequently-tagged building to detract graffiti vandals, and so far the building has not been vandalized since then. The Vancouver City Council is also considering an anti-graffiti ordinance this month.

Source: The Columbian

June 26, 2014—Federal Way, WA, Pilot Program Discussed to Paint Murals on Utility Boxes

The Federal Way City Council was presented with a proposal from Federal Way Arts Commission member Gary Gillespie to paint utility boxes in an effort to create graffiti-proof art installations and deter taggers. The Commission is still discussing ways to fund this pilot project.


May 2015—Toledo, OH, City of Murals

Art Corner Toledo is working with the city to coordinate with local artists and activists to paint murals in the city. This effort is to, like the Philadelphia mural program, revitalize deteriorating neighborhoods, create jobs, and boost the local economy: “Cities across the country and the world are taking part in the mural movement and are watching as it heals the people in communities as well as the buildings and neighborhoods where they live.  Toledo has begun to see these same results and can only succeed further with more public and private investment.” This program was inspired by the very successful Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, which was created in 1984 to combat graffiti vandalism.

Source: Toledo Free Press

May 29, 2014—Calgary, Alberta (Canada), Up the Wall Pilot Program

The Calgary Police Service and local Boys and Girls Club have partnered to begin its “Up the Wall” program, which focuses on giving youths who have already been charged or have pending charges for graffiti vandalism an opportunity to “explore the arts.” The goal of the project is to address the root causes of graffiti vandalism and encourage positive civic engagement using art.   

Source: CTV News Calgary

 March 21, 2014—Santa Fe Springs, NM, Mural Pilot Program

The City Council of Santa Fe Springs contracted with artist Candace Galvan to paint a mural to help curb the rise in graffiti on traffic signal boxes. The mural is part of a pilot program “to enhance the appearance of the city by decorating the drab-colored boxes containing traffic signal equipment and to combat graffiti as the murals will have an anti-graffiti sealant….”

Source: Los Angeles Wave

September 24, 2013—Kansas City, MO, Mural Pilot Program

The City of Kansas City, MO began an inaugural mural program in an effort to decrease graffiti vandalism while also creating art for the city to enjoy. This program is part of the City’s Gateway Crimes Task Force that started a graffiti abatement effort in 2012. 

Source: KCTV via Tucson News Now