Mural Programs

Mural Programs

July 2019 – Jersey City, New Jersey – Street Art Thrives in Jersey City

Two new massive murals on Summit Avenue are the latest additions to the city by the Jersey City Mural Arts Program. The city currently has around 130 murals painted by local, national, and international street artists. Each mural is unique and individually speaks to the community, tells the history of the city, and reflects the culture of Jersey City’s varied neighborhoods. The city’s mural arts program started in 2012 as an offshoot of a larger, city-wide anti-graffiti program. Since then, it has blossomed into a greater initiative that continues to deter graffiti vandalism and encourage local artists to get involved in the community in a positive way. The program is led by a team of managers, artists, and administrators in the mayor’s office, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Department of Public Works, who work directly with neighborhood groups, educational institutions, small businesses, and private property owners to select ideal locations, artists, and content for the murals. The city has no intention of slowing down the proliferation of public art, either, as a dozen murals have already been commissioned to be painted over the next year.

Source: Hudson Reporter

July 2019 – Missoula, Montana – Students Paint a New Mural to Combat Graffiti

Local students are spending some of their summer vacation helping paint a new mural in downtown Missoula. The Flagship Program developed this mural arts project in coordination with the Missoula Parking Commission, Ace Hardware, and the Missoula Public Art Committee. The mural, which depicts ages of geologic history, is located in an area that frequently gets tagged with graffiti vandalism. The organizations commissioned this mural project in an effort to combat graffiti vandalism by beautifying the public space and supporting the community.

Source: ABC Fox Montana

June 2019 – Santa Paula, California – City Officials Call for New Mural

City officials in Santa Paula, California are calling for more street art to help curtail its graffiti problem. Graffiti vandalism has been a big issue in Santa Paula for quite some time. The city does have a dedicated graffiti department who is quick to paint over unwanted vandalism, but its crews are being dispatched more frequently and can’t keep up. Ikani Taumoepeau, Assistant City Manager, recognized that it was time for a new strategy and has been looking to the city’s existing murals for guidance. Murals are nothing new in Santa Paula, as more than six can be seen around town. Since each of the murals have significant meaning to community, they don’t get tagged or vandalized. The city hopes to display another mural in one of its new parks next year and is currently looking for local graffiti artists to help. City officials in Santa Paula want to start the discussion and move in the right direction by turning one of the city’s negative attributes into a positive one by creating beautiful, meaningful street art.

Source: KEYT News

May 2019 – New Orleans, Louisiana – Five New Murals Painted in New Orleans

Five new murals within walking distance of each other are either up or going up in New Orleans. According to the organizers of the mural installations, the Arts Council of New Orleans and the Helis Foundation, this is the first phase of the “Unframed Project” which brings the vibrancy of the city’s art scene outside gallery walls. Each mural is unique and brings different meaning to the city and its residents. Looking forward, the Council wants to create as many murals as it can get money and walls for, starting with phase two of the project downtown as soon as possible. The hardest part of the project has been convincing building owners to donate walls, though; however, the project organizers have been educating business owners that murals can help deter vandalism, increase property values, and create a more lively and interesting community.

Source: Associated Press

March 2019 – Chula Vista, California – City Transforms Graffiti-Covered Corner into Bright Mural

A once-blighted street corner in Chula Vista has been transformed into a colorful reflection of the community. For years, the corner of Palomar Street and Orange Avenue was surrounded by an empty dirt lot and a large wall separating the street from a mobile home park. Since the wall was a frequent target of gang-related graffiti, the Chula Vista City Council turned to MAAC Community Charter School for help in developing a mural that would deter the graffiti vandalism. When it came to designing the mural, the students reached out to the community to get a range of ideas and perspectives for the project. Ultimately, the final mural was painted with bright, beautiful colors and images, and has brought the community together and created a sense of pride throughout area. In addition to the mural, the city redeveloped the empty dirt lot into a park-like area with landscaping, walkways, and benches. This project exemplifies how murals and street art projects can make positive impacts in communities.

Source: NBC San Diego

March 2019 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – How Philadelphia’s Murals Persist in the Face of Vandalism

Philadelphia’s thousands of strikingly colorful murals are some of the most recognizable sights in the city, but how do they keep the artwork from being covered in graffiti vandalism? As it turns out, it’s not as much of a challenge as one might think. One of the main reasons that Philadelphia’s murals are not defaced more often is because of the relationship that has been built between the city’s street artists and muralists. There is a strong sense of mutual respect for the art and the artists across the city that ultimately deters graffiti vandalism. In addition, Philadelphia’s murals are not vandalized more often because of the ownership that communities feel over the art. The themes of the murals are developed and created in careful collaboration with the people and represent issues that residents care about. As a result, vandals are less likely to tag a mural out of respect for the community. Lastly, Philadelphia has robust graffiti removal programs that clean up vandalism within 24 to 48 hours. In addition to murals, one of the best deterrents of graffiti vandalism is its quick removal.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

February 2019 – Houston, Texas – Local Artist Paints Mural on University Campus

Local graffiti artist Mario Figueroa Jr. (a.k.a. Gonzo247) painted the first permanent on-campus mural at the University of St. Thomas in downtown Houston. The mural depicts a colorful St. Thomas Aquinas, the Italian Catholic priest after which the university is named, as well as bright objects and items representing the university and its community. The mural is part of the university’s goal to inspire and motivate its students through its “Be Your Bold Self” campaign, which encourages students to be courageous leaders and contribute their unique talents for the common good.

Source: Houston Chronicle

January 2019 – Salinas Valley, California – Artist Installs Mural as Testament to City’s Flavor

Local artist Augie WK painted a 62 foot-long, 22 foot-tall mural in the Salinas Valley town of Watsonville. The sprawling mural reads “Sabor”, which means “flavor” or “taste” in Spanish, and is a testament to the city’s cultural flavor. The bright colors and layers are modeled after a traditional Mexican shawl, as well. The mural was funded through a grant by the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County and is meant to spur local engagement and highlight the town’s cultural diversity and representation. The mural was painted on a family-owned grocery store, Don Rafa’s, whose part-owner and manager Francisco Martin gave permission to Augie WK to paint on its building walls. The mural has not only brought the community together, but it has also been the perfect deterrent to graffiti vandalism.

Source: The Californian

December 2018 – Wichita, Kansas – World-Record Mural Brings Visibility to Overlooked Wichitans

The largest single-artist mural in the world is currently in the works in North Wichita. While the world record is notable, the size is not the primary story behind this mural. For decades, this northern part of the city has lacked the developmental attention given to other sections of Wichita. As a result, artist GLeo and local nonprofit art organization Horizontes teamed up to create this colorful mural that attempts to connect the communities of North Wichita with the rest of the city. It also makes a statement about overlooked and minority Americans who call Wichita home. Overall, this mural project is focused on building bridges between communities and people.

Source: The Sunflower

November 2018 – Detroit, Michigan – Detroit Government to Sponsor Murals in Fight to Curb Graffiti Vandalism

The city of Detroit is expanding its City Walls campaign and will sponsor 60 more murals throughout the city in an effort to both beautify the city and curb graffiti vandalism. City Walls was launched in 2017 and its primary function is to pay muralists to legally paint areas in the city that are hotspots for illegal spray paint activity. The government-sponsored campaign is an artistic, rather than punitive, way for the city to fight its never-ending problem of graffiti vandalism. Nineteen murals have already been painted as part of the program, with several more to come in the new year. In addition to graffiti abatement, the mural arts campaign is also meant to beautify the community and support the unique identity of each neighborhood through every mural.

Source: Detroit Metro Times

October 2018 – Washington, DC – Muralist Paints the Town

Professional muralist, Nessar Jahanbin, is spray painting murals throughout the greater-DMV area in an attempt to bring communities together and facilitate productive conversations on tough issues facing the world. Jahanbin estimates that he completes a few small murals per month, as well as one large-scale project every few months. His work tends to revolve around issues of social justice and the environment, but he is very cognizant of the message his work portrays to ensure no controversy ensues as a result of his artistic expression. In addition to developing and installing murals, Jahanbin is encouraging young street artists to express their work in a legal way and seek out mentors who are willing to help them hone their techniques and skills. Moving forward, Jahanbin hopes to continue installing murals that help deter graffiti vandalism by having communities embrace his work as their own which would help preserve his art.

Source: Express Newspaper DC

October 2018 – Chicago, Illinois – Chicago Plans to Save Murals and Street Art

Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) introduced a proposed ordinance to the Chicago City Council that attempts to create a registry to distinguish street art from unwanted, illegal graffiti vandalism. This effort comes after a handful of murals were painted over by graffiti removal crews who mistook commissioned art for illegal graffiti. Since the city has a history of being unable to distinguish between street art and graffiti, this proposed ordinance would call for building owners or property management companies to register murals with the city and pay a fee to cover for the cost of a physical marker that would be placed on the building to alert removal crews. The registry would be maintained by the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events which would work with the Department of Streets and Sanitation to create rules to oversee the enforcement of the ordinance. There are an estimated 2,000 murals throughout Chicago that share diverse meaning with the people in those communities who wish to see the murals to remain untouched.

Source: Chicago Tribune

October 2018 – Edmonds, Washington – Seattle Suburb Installing Murals for the Community

The City of Edmonds, Washington just began a public effort to install bold and beautiful murals throughout the northern Seattle suburb. Mural Project Edmonds intends to start a second street art project soon on another nearby building. The project, which was created by Art Walk Edmonds, is funded completely by events, donations, and sponsorships. It’s intended to give back to the community through inspired murals that depict local imagery and style.

Source: The Daily Herald

September 2018 – Kalamazoo, Michigan – Kalamazoo Plans Spaces for Street Art

From bridges to street signs, graffiti can be found pretty much anywhere in Kalamazoo. But, the city is now working to provide new spaces for street artists to show off their work in a legal way. The city plans to create “graffiti gardens” in local parks by installing big plywood structures where graffiti artists can paint or draw their art in any way they see fit (with some obvious exceptions). Several city officials think that graffiti will always be a problem in Kalamazoo, which is why they are now working to create a legal way to channel that art and decrease vandalism. The ultimate idea is to provide an outlet for street artists to legally express themselves and show off their talent to the community. The Kalamazoo City Commission plans to vote on the idea soon.

Source: Kalamazoo Gazette

September 2018 – Cleveland, Ohio – Graffiti Crew Returns to Cleveland to Create Mural

In the 1980s, the Cleveland Skribe Tribe formed as a group of young graffiti artists who worked together to paint murals on abandoned buildings and under bridges across the city. The crew found solace in street art as a way to vent their personal issues and emotions. Although most graffiti artists work alone, the Skribe Tribe enjoyed working together and sharing each other’s different techniques and styles to create more complicated murals. Since then, several members of the crew moved away and went on to have very successful careers as graphic designers and artists. Now, after thirty years, the Skribe Tribe returned to Cleveland to paint a mural on the 78th Street Studios building for the Collective Arts Network’s Triennial. This opportunity allowed them to reconnect and give back to the community they grew up in.

Source: ideastream

August 2018 – Tyler, Texas – Creative Outlet for Graffiti Artists

City Councilman Don Warren is hoping to curb graffiti vandalism in Tyler, Texas by installing a concrete wall at a local park that will be designated as a legal canvas for street artists. This initiative comes after a sharp increase of graffiti vandalism appeared in the city this summer. The art wall is going to be 200 feet long and 8 feet tall. It’s intended to be used as a place for artists to come and paint murals or express themselves creatively. The city will keep an eye on the artwork that is added to the art wall and hopes that it will greatly reduce the amount of graffiti vandalism throughout the city.

Source: KLTV Tyler

August 2018 – Portland, Maine – Portland Continues Fighting Graffiti Vandalism with Mural Arts

The city of Portland will renew a 2016 program that encourages street art, and deters graffiti vandalism, by offering local artists the chance to paint murals on utility boxes. In 2016, the city hired a group of local painters who turned five utility boxes that were frequently tagged into works of public art. These transformed utility boxes were used as a deterrent to graffiti vandalism. The new project will again be sponsored by the Portland Police Department, NBT Bank, and Port Property Management. Applications are now being accepted by the Portland Public Art Committee, with a deadline of September 15. The program will offer $500 stipends to the selected artists who will have the opportunity to paint five more utility boxes throughout Portland.

Source: The Forecaster

July 2018 – United States – Why Some Cities Want Graffiti, Murals and Street Art

The word “graffiti” has carried a negative connotation with it since it came alive in the 1970s, mainly because it is associated with crime, property depreciation, slowed economic growth and tourism, and damaged communities. Since then, illegal graffiti and tagging has plagued major cities in the US who seem to be fighting a losing battle against taggers. However, changing attitudes toward graffiti and street art have taken hold in cities throughout the world. Bogota and Lisbon are promoting street art, while Montreal, Brussels, and Tel Aviv sponsor graffiti walking tours. Now, American cities are moving more deliberately in the same direction. Cities like Washington, DC, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Louisville, Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Billings (Mont.), and Rapid City (S.D.) are trying to accommodate what used to be denounced as an urban blight, and are looking for a means to tempt graffiti writers away from vandalism and toward art. These cities, and several more, have set up mural projects or similar programs that manage graffiti vandalism by getting permission from property owners or the city to paint murals that ultimately deter tagging and vandalism. Providing walls for street artists to work on legally could be an effective way to help US cities fight graffiti vandalism.

Source: Governing Magazine

July 2018 – Newport News, Virginia – Local Wholesalers Preventing Graffiti Vandalism Through Murals

To prevent tagging of properties in Newport News, Virginia, a local art and framing supply store is encouraging artists to create murals instead. The exterior walls of the Hampton Roads Wholesalers store had been tagged so much that its owners had to come up with a creative way to deter vandals. With the help of local artists and employees who work at the store, the owners decided to put murals up on their walls with the hope that it would prevent future graffiti vandalism. The first mural went up about a year and a half ago, and since then there has been only one report of tagging. Since the murals are painted by local artists and the final product is more relevant to the community, graffiti vandals refrain from tagging the mural out of respect for the art and the artist. Now, the Hampton Roads Wholesalers store is encouraging other establishments in the area, as well as local artists, to install murals to help combat graffiti vandalism.

Source: Daily Press

July 2018 – Tulsa, Oklahoma – New Murals Planned for Downtown Tulsa

The city of Tulsa is beginning to tell its storied history through murals painted on the sides of city buildings. The Clean Hands Army has already installed a few meaningful murals in Tulsa, including one inspired by graffiti from back in the day. With that in mind, the happenings of “back in the day” are exactly what artist Ryan Rhoades wants to highlight in a new, up-and-coming community mural called Bridging the Gap. He hopes to highlight Tulsa’s history through a large mural installation that will make everyone feel comfortable in the city.

Source: NewsOn6 Tulsa

October 2017 – Las Vegas, Nevada – Mural Pays Tribute to Victims of Las Vegas Shooting

A mural spray-painted with colorful hearts containing the names of the 58 men and women killed in the October 1st shooting in Las Vegas is providing some much-needed inspiration for victims' families and neighborhood residents alike. Five graffiti artists worked for about 17 straight hours in late-October to create the 200-foot-long mural at the corner of Westcliff Drive and Antelope Way in Las Vegas. The hearts are different colors, and each contain a victim’s name with a halo resting over it. The effort was organized by Kitos Lucero, a lifelong Las Vegas resident who, for more than a year, has been creating murals for children diagnosed with cancer and childhood cancer victims. Lucero said he got permission from the owners of homes abutting the wall and used close to 100 cans of spray paint donated on-site to create the piece. This mural hopes to showcase the strength, resilience, and unity of the Las Vegas community.

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal

October 2017 – Madison, Wisconsin – Murals, Spray Paint, and a Business Plan

Madison resident James Gubbins recently opened Momentum Art Tech, a 400-square-foot store and art gallery that specializes in spray paint and other art supplies. It also supplies its own exterior walls for murals. Gubbins sells spray paint and removable nozzles to local artists, offers gallery space for their work, and searches for walls throughout Madison on which murals can be painted legally on a rotating basis. The idea is that new, vibrant murals being painted every month will create better visibility for business owners in the area. In turn, this project will help the business because people will want to come by to see what the new mural is each month. With the permission of the business owner, local artists will be able to put their creative talents to work and paint murals on walls that can be personalized to a building owner’s desire or can be left up to the artist. This effort hopes to cultivate more mural art throughout the city of Madison.

Source: Wisconsin State Journal

October 2017 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – More Mural Art is Coming to Oklahoma City

In just a couple of years, the Bricktown neighborhood in downtown Oklahoma City has been revitalized by the addition street art. Downtown Oklahoma City Initiatives, a non-profit public art campaign run by Downtown Oklahoma City Incorporated (DOKC), has made a huge difference in adding color and art throughout the urban core. Several murals are already splattered throughout Bricktown, including a couple at entryways to the neighborhood that help focus attention and entice visitors to the area. Most recently, DOKC has commissioned the help of a local artist to paint a new mural on the Main Street underpass, which is expected to be completed by November 1st.

Source: NewsOK

September 2017 – Salt Lake City, Utah – Colorful Murals Added to Downtown Salt Lake

Over the course of two weeks, a bland brick wall in downtown Salt Lake City was transformed into an artistic masterpiece. Street artist Yvette Vexta was tapped by Utah-based creativity group 3 Irons to spray paint an enormous mural on a five-story brick wall in downtown Salt Lake. The centerpiece of the mural is an image of a Utah-native bird, the flammulated owl, perched on a collection of colorful geometric shards. The downtown mural is one of the largest murals in Utah. It was funded completely by private donors, including Richter7, the Eva Carlston Academy, Rheda Fouad, Amy Leininger, and the building’s owner. 3 Irons is also working to sponsor about 40 other art and culture projects in Salt Lake City in the next year. All those involved in this initiative are really hopeful that this project inspires other private investments in street art that can help transform downtown Salt Lake City into a place celebrated for art and culture.

Source: Deseret News

August 2017 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – New Murals to Go Up During Plaza Walls Mural Expo

The second annual Plaza Walls Mural Expo will take place on September 30th during the Plaza District Festival in Oklahoma City. Over twenty spray-paint artists plan on participating in this year’s expo that will reveal over 5,000 square feet of new murals. This project is intended to showcase the dynamic street art culture in Oklahoma City, inspire local innovation and creativity, and provide a creative space for visual artists. The Mural Expo will also feature the painting of two large-scale murals that will be on view in the Plaza District through January 2018. Plaza Walls is a nonprofit organization that creates public art projects and events that benefit the local Oklahoma City community.

Source: NewsOK

July 2017 – Lynn, Massachusetts – Street Art Becomes an Agent of Change in Old Industrial Town

This past July, artists from all over the world congregated in Lynn, Massachusetts to help bring the old industrial town’s brick walls to life. In just 10 days, 15 new murals popped up in downtown Lynn during the Beyond Walls Mural Festival. This outburst of sanctioned street art turned buildings into canvases that have been splashed with color and art with the hope for urban improvement and redevelopment. These new murals celebrate Lynn for its diverse population, culture, and history. Beyond Walls is an all-volunteer public art initiative created by a group of people who use grassroots efforts to create a sense of place and safety through meaningful street art. “In partnership with the city, residents, business owners, corporations, civic organizations, elected officials, and volunteer committees, Beyond Walls applied for grant money and raised money to realize one of its goals: to reinvigorate the community and transform Lynn through art in the same way the Wynwood neighborhood turned Miami into a destination for street art.” To continue these efforts after the festival, Beyond Walls has decided to install dynamic LED lights under the walkways of Lynn’s commuter rail bridges that will enliven this piece of public infrastructure and enhance public safety. These new murals are all about connecting the community and reinvesting in the development of Lynn.

Source: The Boston Globe

August 2017 – Edmonton, Canada – Street Art Festival Turns Edmonton Walls into Art

The 2017 Rust Magic Street Art Festival brought 23 artists together to turn spray paint to barren walls and create massive pieces of art in Edmonton, Canada. The founders of Rust Magic drew inspiration from successful street art festivals in Europe to form this 2017 installation. Several individuals and businesses also stepped up this year to ensure that the festival was success, including many sponsors, world-renowned muralists, and numerous building owners who happily donated walls to help the effort. Rust Magic prides itself as being unique among the world’s art festivals because of its emphasis on graffiti art. “Graffiti is often misunderstood and has a negative connotation attached to it,” so Rust Magic is seeking to promote it and show it as a viable form of beautiful artwork. It seems to be working, as the urban landscape of Edmonton is changing due, in part, to these vibrant murals that are lifting the community’s spirit and bringing happiness to the masses.

Source: CBC News

July 2017 – Denver, Colorado – Local Muralists Hired to Help Reduce Graffiti on Traffic Boxes

The City of Thornton, located ten miles north of downtown Denver, has recently experienced a spike in graffiti vandalism, especially on its traffic control utility boxes. As a result, the Thornton Arts, Sciences, and Humanities Council (TASHCO) launched the “Outside the Box” project that commissions local artists to paint murals on utility boxes scattered throughout the city. The first mural intentionally went up on a traffic control box outside of Thornton High School to see whether it would get tagged or if the mural would hold up. The results have been incredible (and perhaps surprising), as the mural has not been tagged or vandalized in over a year. This goes to show that murals are effective deterrents of graffiti vandalism because of the respect given to the art and artist. Six other murals have also been painted on six different traffic boxes that are often tagged in highly visible areas. The Thornton community has embraced these creative and unique murals, and wants to see more in the future. TASHCO is up to the challenge and hopes to get grant funding to add fifteen new murals to the city’s utility boxes in 2018.

Source: The Denver Post

June 2017 – Fayetteville, Arkansas – Despite a Setback, Fayetteville Still Considers Adding a Mural to the City’s Trail

Fayetteville City Council will consider a proposal to add a new mural along the city’s Tsa La Gi Trail. This multi-use trail is named in remembrance of the forced relocation route where a group of Cherokee people formed a detachment camp in 1839. Earlier this year, city officials asked area artists to submit proposals for a new mural along this trail that depicts the very journey of the Cherokee people along the Trail of Tears. City staff then identified the ideal place for the mural, which they hoped would fulfill the requirements of a state appropriation that the city received for improvements to Trail of Tears sites in Washington County, AR. However, it was eventually determined that the mural project did not qualify for the state grant. Despite the setback, several city officials and members of the Fayetteville Arts Council decided to continue with the project. Now, Fayetteville Alderman will consider spending $5,000 on the mural project which includes a contract with artist Stacy Bates and her design titled “Holding On and Letting Go: The Struggles and Strength of the Tsa La Gi.” Bates’ vision is focused on the culture, traditions, and strength of the Cherokee people. This potential mural would not only recognize a meaningful time in history, but also help curb graffiti vandalism and bring public art to Fayetteville.

Source: Fayetteville Flyer

June 2017 – Elgin, Illinois (Chicago) – Elgin’s Public Art Plan is Set to Kick Off with a Mural

The Elgin City Council provisionally approved the city’s first public art plan. Once the plan is officially accepted, the city will start work on a new outdoor mural and sculpture. Elgin city officials hope this will be the first of many more public art installments that will expand to parks and neighborhoods in coming years. Having public art creates the potential for cultural and economic development in cities, as well as an opportunity to bring communities together. The first mural will go up on the south wall of the Hemmens Cultural Center in downtown Elgin. After the first mural goes up, the proposed public art plan calls for a new mural every year, a “spontaneous art wall” that will consist of a temporary white panel wall in the city that anyone can add art to, and a “donate a wall” program that allows business owners to donate one of their walls for an outdoor mural. This public art plan shows great promise and will help shape Elgin as a city of the arts.

Source: Daily Herald

June 2017 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Philly’s Spring Garden Bridge Mural Tells a Story of Hope and Transformation Through Public Art

A new mural has been painted on Philadelphia’s Spring Garden Bridge, which spans from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia. The new long and colorful mural is the third in the bridge’s history and pays homage to the West Philly neighborhood and its culture. The dedication of this mural has been special for the Mantua neighborhood, which has been experiencing reinvestment and steady growth in recent years, and several other members of the community who have seen the transformation of this mural since its inception. In the mid-1980s, then-Mayor Wilson Goode commissioned the first Spring Garden Bridge mural with the help of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, a program Goode established to combat the spread of graffiti in Philly, and Mural Arts, a program founded by Jane Golden that is dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. The third installment of the Spring Garden Bridge mural highlights Mexican art and culture, as well as the Mantua neighborhood’s love of tulips. The flower is planted throughout Mantua, symbolizing regeneration and hope for a neighborhood that has experienced economic disinvestment and high gang- and drug-related warfare in the past. Today, the Spring Garden Bridge mural effort has blossomed into the largest public art program in the country, with more than 3,600 murals under its belt painted by countless artists who have all helped combat graffiti vandalism in Philly through beautiful and meaningful murals.

Source: Curbed Philadelphia

May 2017 – Everett, Massachusetts (Boston) – Local Students and City Officials Team Up to Fight Graffiti One Mural at a Time

Advanced art students at Everett High School have officially began tracing and painting a new mural on a community trail in Everett, MA. The Mayor of Everett (Carlo DeMaria) and the School Superintendent (Fred Foresteire) teamed up to put together this anti-graffiti mural project that they hope will help deter vandals from tagging open space on the community trail. This stretch of concrete has been a frequent target for graffiti vandals, but Everett students and city officials believe this mural project will put a dent in the graffiti problem while sprucing up the community at the same time. This idea came about by looking to neighboring cities that have found success in combating their graffiti problems by commissioning similar mural projects. Everett teacher Annette LeRay explains that vandals tend to avoid tagging murals out of respect for the art and artist. This effort also brings more public art to the community and showcases the talents of local students. In the end, the finished mural will feature fruits, vegetables, and other garden items. It will also give a nod to the ethnic diversity of the City of Everett.

Source: The Everett Independent

May 2017 – Surrey, British Columbia (Vancouver) – Metro Vancouver Neighborhood Using Graffiti Murals to Help Fight Crime

In 2014, Surrey’s Newton neighborhood was plastered with the reputation of an area experiencing high property crimes. To help restore its good reputation, the Newton Business Improvement Association (BIA) hired a local graffiti artist, Danny Fernandez, to beautify some of its alleyways with murals. BIA’s logic is that if you remove graffiti vandalism and beautify it with murals and art, then people are going to want to be in that community. Fernandez further explained that graffiti art is less likely to be vandalized or tagged because of its meaning and importance to the area. He hopes that BIA promoting graffiti this way will get the attention of youth and steer them in the right direction. Fernandez’s finished product is a 21-meter-long mural that showcases Newton’s past, present, and future.

Source: CBC News

April 2017 – Washington, Missouri (St. Louis) – Full Support for a Mural Project in Missouri Town

The first public mural commissioned by the Arts Council of Washington (ACOW) is inching closer to becoming a reality. In early April, the city’s park board unanimously voted to back the project. Now, the city council will have to approve the project before painting can begin in this Missouri town about 50 miles west of St. Louis. Last year, the city adopted a public arts policy that was created in order to bring public art to Washington. ACOW’s first idea was to paint murals in public places, but one of the park board’s main concerns was whether it would survive tagging and graffiti. In response, an ACOW member and local artist explained that public art is almost always respected and not vandalized. In fact, murals have been an effective tool for cities to help combat graffiti vandalism. In addition to bringing the community together, this mural project will also involve local artists and showcase the city of Washington’s creativity and innovation. If all goes according to plan, ACOW’s mural campaign could be just the start of great things to come for public art in this Missouri city.

Source: The Missourian

March 2017 – New York City – The Power of Permission: World Trade Center Tower is Splashed with Graffiti, by Invitation

The 69th Floor at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan has been hit by street artists. The walls, and one section of the floor, pop with colors, images, tributes, and messages usually found at the street level. But the art on the 69th floor is different from street art, and not because it’s indoors and several hundred feet above the street. It’s different because none of it is illegal. The artists were given permission by a creative consultant working for Larry Silverstein, who is the developer of the 72-story building. This project highlights the major difference between graffiti vandalism and graffiti art: permission. With permission, various graffiti artists were given the chance to express themselves without being on the run or chased off the property by a landlord. Some artists chose to spray paint NYC classics such as the Statue of Liberty, while others paid tribute to the tragedy of 9/11 and the popular musical “Hamilton.” No matter their reasoning or purpose, each artist’s piece is the very definition of graffiti art. This project exemplifies the striking power of permission when it comes to graffiti and street art. Without permission, it’s vandalism. With permission, it’s art.

Source: The New York Times

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

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