UrbanArts gets its money

I made a mistake earlier this week when I reported that UrbanArts had received money to clean up graffiti. I believed that the city sub-committee had authority to hand out the grants. In fact, the full City Council had to approve the spending.

It has. UrbanArts will be cleaning up graffiti in Weston this summer by hiring young people to paint murals around town.

UrbanArts looking for artists

UrbanArts is looking for local artists who would like to be featured in their annual CultureShock Community Arts Festival. The festival is August 14th from 1–7 pm at Weston Collegiate Institute.

Auditions will be held on July 15 from 4–6 pm at UrbanArts on John St. Visual artists can submit their work directly by email.

UrbanArts to fight graffiti this summer

UrbanArts received more than $23,000 [1] from the city of Toronto to run a graffiti cleanup and mural painting program this summer.

urbanartsThe city has been funding graffiti and tag-removal projects since 1996; last year, 100 young people were employed by the Graffiti Transformation program. According to the city, the program targets “marginalized youth who face multiple barriers to employment.” The young people are trained in materials and workplace safety and, according to the city, for many the graffiti transformation project “is their first paid work experience”.

There are two benefits to the program. First, the murals discourage vandals and taggers. The programs also integrate the mural artists into their communities by giving them something they, and the community, can be proud of. They give the artists a stake in their neighbourhood.

Last year, UrbanArts painted two murals and received $22,950 in funding.This year they applied for a 26% increase, but the city turned it down and granted only a 2% increase.

UrbanArts was a little fortunate, however; many communities are interested in the graffiti removal program, but there was no money to expand it this year.

Image from UrbanArts
Image from UrbanArts

[1] Whoops. I thought the Community Development and Recreation Committee had the authority to grant this money. City Council will be voting on the issue today and tomorrow.