Researcher and speaker, Mrs Sharon Bull from Australia shed some interesting light on how to solve the dilemma of graffiti when she spoke at the NAMTA Art Trade Fair in the USA earlier this year.
Sharkey’s Beach Amenities’ Block in Coledale, NSW was a mecca for the aerosol art brigade. In a stroke of brilliance the problem was solved and a local hero honoured. To commemorate the life of popular man, Ray Joyce, a mural the length of the block was commissioned and sponsored by Wollongong City Council. It didn’t end there though. Community members, assisted by council were invited to contribute their own small mural representing some aspect of Ray’s life. This was combined to form a large piece. 80 amateurs took up the challenge.
I wonder how many of them are now fledgling artists or at least have a greater awareness of art?
Apparently, the NSW Government Community and Youth services are delighted with their ‘Youth Connect’ program. Respected local artists are invited to work with Primary and Secondary students, youth groups and community groups to design and then paint bus shelters that were previously tagged or were despoiled by graffiti. The murals selected usually have some bearing on the district. The mural life is approximately 2 years and then recommissioned. It is still a much cheaper option than constant cleaning.
The Council is currently in discussion over an, ‘Adopt This Space Program.’ I will leave you to fill in the blanks as to how your city could benefit from this concept.
Do the people in your city come from diverse ethnic backgrounds? To capture the rich tapestry of culture a bold approach was taken in one community. They employed consultants with a background in firing to supervise a project where individuals did self -portraits on tiles. The tiles were fired and combined to form a huge mural. It has remained untouched for decades. No graffiti to be seen.
The constant challenge for adults is to harness the skills and talents of our youth and encourage them to work towards positive outcomes which will enrich their lives and imbue them with a spirit of hope and the satisfaction gained from being productive not destructive.