Graffiti committee to educate, address nuisance tagging

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The writing is on the wall.

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City council is renewing its graffiti committee with the hopes of scrubbing unwanted tagging on public property.

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Ward 2 Coun. Lisa Vezeau-Allen said that nuisance tagging is on the rise again, most notably defacing public art installations.

She argues that more education, outreach and advocacy needs to occur to deter people from vandalizing public art work and property.

Research dictates that removing graffiti as quickly as possible serves as a deterrent for the culprits who spray paint pictures, signs and symbols on private property,

Vezeau-Allen told city council that a lot of great work occurred three years ago to fight the issue. That work led to PUC wraps, public arts projects and gatherings with youth and artists.

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She wants to see a renewed graffiti committee take shape in Sault Ste. Marie.

The first committee convened in 2013 at the request of then-councillors Susan Myers and Steve Butland and evolved years later to become a community committee on graffiti where a number of downtown organizations joined together to combat the problem that had been growing across the community.

The committee’s task was to develop ways to erase nuisance graffiti that pops up on buildings, mailboxes and electrical boxes and perhaps channel the energy of the taggers into something a little more positive.

As a result, several murals on building were created, which temporarily slowed tagging across the city.

In 2015, NORDIK published a Graffiti Reframed research paper and the city, with community partners, invested in multiple public art projects to deter graffiti on city and private property.

Vezeau-Allen suggested city council review that work.

She’s disappointed the “unwritten rule” of not tagging murals on public property, has fallen by the wayside and believes education and reminders across the community are necessary.

The resolution was unanimously passed by city council.

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