Three arrested for graffiti blitz in City

PLATTSBURGH — One adult and two juveniles were arrested for graffiti at multiple locations downtown, including at an iconic piece of Outside Art: The Plattsburgh Public Art Project, according to Plattsburgh City Police.

A complaint of graffiti was received by the Plattsburgh Police Department Patrol Division on Saturday, Oct. 7.

During the investigation, patrol officers located multiple locations of graffiti, including the Jean Arthur mural on Protection Avenue, the Smith Weed Bridge, and the pavilion on the Durkee Street parking lot, river walk.

With assistance of the Detective Division, a fourth location was discovered on the JCEO building also in downtown. Detectives were able to identify and locate three individuals involved in the criminal mischief.

Plattsburgh City Police Department arrested two juveniles along with Nathan Beckham, 18, of Plattsburgh, formerly of Massachusetts, for third-degree criminal mischief, a class E felony.

Beckham was processed and released on an appearance ticket to appear in Plattsburgh City Court at a later date, police said.

Both juveniles were released and referred to the Clinton County Probation Diversion program.


Outside Art: Plattsburgh Public Art Project co-founders Amy Guglielmo and Julia Devine commissioned artist Brendon Palmer-Angell to create the Jean Arthur mural during the fall of 2019. It is located on the rear of the former Merchants National Bank on the corner of Brinkerhoff and Marion Streets in downtown Plattsburgh.

For the artist, it was a two-week marathon to pull off this monumental mural of the Plattsburgh-born 1930s actress known for her iconic Hollywood role in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

Devine and Guglielmo were disappointed to hear of the graffiti.

“This is the very first incidence of vandalism to occur on one of the 18 murals we’ve produced for the Plattsburgh community. It’s very disheartening to see,” the pair said in a statement.

“One of the main drivers to create a public art program is to revitalize a community and reduce overall levels of crime and graffiti.

”In fact, back in the 1980s in Philadelphia, their famed Mural Arts program started as an anti-graffiti project by Jane Golden, who worked with graffiti writers to redirect their energies to public art projects. Perhaps, there can be a restorative justice opportunity here and Outside Art would be willing to offer guidance.

”We also hope that the private owners of buildings affected find a way to remove the graffiti or allow artists to creatively cover it up. To cite the Broken Windows Theory, leaving the graffiti could encourage further vandalism. We owe it to ourselves to show that Plattsburgh is a community that cares.”

Palmer-Angell grew up in Plattsburgh and lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. He started drawing as a kid and did a semester in SUNY Plattsburgh’s art program and that’s when he decided he wanted to pursue a career as an artist.

“It’s sad to see the mural damaged, but it can be repaired,” he said.

“I don’t know these individuals, but when I look at this graffiti, I feel their need for creative outlets and community. I hope this can become a pivot point in these young people’s sense of responsibility for their actions, and that there can be more support and expansion of the opportunities in the community for guiding and fostering the creative impulses of its youth.”

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