The targets Any and all public spaces, including spaces already transformed by city-sponsored graffiti projects and privately owned buildings on which the owner has given artists permission to paint. Talk about a whitewash….
Who’s to say what’s art anyway? City politicians. They’ll have the final say should business owners refuse to comply with cleanup orders – yes, the same politicians more interested in pacifying residents concerned about property values than in the cultural and social significance of graffiti.
Why it all smells like coercion The city is threatening to fine businesses that refuse to take part in the cleanup, or do the cleanup itself and then add the costs to business owners’ property tax bill. In other words, you can pay now or you can pay later.
Janna was interviewed for the article and counters the cliche that all graffiti is gang-related. A representative from the Toronto Public Space Committee gets the last word:
What a waste of resources to go after kids with markers while companies like Viacom and Pattison Outdoor Advertising are erecting massive illegal billboards and murals all across Toronto. The rule seems to be that defacement is a crime unless you’re wearing a suit and work for an ad firm.
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Read the full article here. Check out Style in Progress for a great look at graffiti north of the border, and check out the Toronto Public Space Committee, a group that’s new to me and is doing wonderfully admirable work.