Musings in the sun
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More support for legal graff walls

FYI - I sent the following to some councillors, city staff, and supporters.


I let some friends/supporters know of the recent Citizen editorial supporting legal graff walls – the following is a reply from Janna Van Hoof. She’s the founder and organizer for Style in Progress, a group that has been for several years successfully promoting graffiti and other elements of hip-hop culture in Toronto.

I have been working with her as one of my many contacts in researching and promoting legal graffiti as an creative part of a city’scultur.

It has been encouraging to see some support lately from city staff, council, and residents for legal walls as well as for exploring different solutions to controlling illegal graffiti.

I hope, with other local supporters, to continue this momentum and to tie together this summer:

·  CAVE’s resources and experiences (positive and negative) in Toronto

·  the Canada Dance Festival HipHop 360 June 19-23

·  the House of Paint Festival at the Dunbar bridge legal wall June 23

·  the new legal walls being built at the Orleans Sportsplex skateboard park (pilot project)

·  youth groups such as the new Orleans Youth Resource Centre (Sketch)

·  city staff and police initiatives

·  local merchants and BIA’s interested in area cleanups and graffiti mural programs

Feel free to contact me for more information

Mike Young

CAVE (Ottawa) coordinator –


Full article at


From: Janna Van Hoof [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: May 21, 2007 1:43 PM
To: Mike
Cc: Scott Mills
Subject: Re: Ottawa Citizen - Save Legal Graffiti walls

Hey Mike,
I wrote a bit of a response to this article.. Use it as you see fit. Maybe you can get it in the right hands in Ottawa.
I am really astonished people still think like this.

Graffiti is growing because its a subculture kinda like skateboarding – its not going away- its getting bigger. Whether Ottawa paints those walls white and says they aren't legal anymore isn't going to stop them from getting painted. Its just going to make it that much cooler to do them and then when they do get caught- the police department will spend needless energy clogging up the system with kids that like art, nothing more.
I cant tell the difference between someone that is a graffiti writer or not when I meet them. Through my experience, most are very intelligent people and when given the chance to do positive things in their lives, they jump on it. 

Graffiti is an art subculture made by youth and when supported by legal spaces turns into positive energy for all.
In Toronto, our graffiti artists have worked with the police, city, BIA’s, youth groups, and community centers to create beautiful murals within their communities.

Graffiti is one of the elements of a creative city.
When walls are legal the atmosphere changes when the artists are painting. They are happy, relaxed, and interact with the public. I've seen many older people spend their days watching artists paint.
The alleys that have been painted in Toronto are one of my favorite places to be in the summer. People are taking pictures, filming movies or maybe just the random interview is happening back there. Someone might even be painting. The Queen W. alleys have also become another sidewalk of sorts. Queen can get pretty busy on the weekends. I tend to see the locals of the neighbourhood walking through in the alley instead. It turns into an organic creative space for everyone. Where in an alley? A gray old alley? Yes. And its free.

In Toronto, we have events where we invite lots of graffiti artists (over 100 sometimes) to paint the alleys in the city. We even bring in other famous graffiti writers from all over the world to paint along side our graffiti writers in legal alley transformations. The collaboration between other city styles is interesting and provokes the Toronto artists to think outside the box a bit further.  These events inspire our artists to collaborate with each other and interact with the public about their art. It also creates an outdoor art gallery of International talent that showcases Toronto as a progressive and open minded, creative city.

Why would Ottawa cut themselves off from such a creative new culture?
I would suggest that Ottawa spends some time, not watching 2 walls in their city but interacting with the graffiti artists that live within their community. I can think of a couple that are amazing artists.
Ottawa should start up some mural projects for the summer and explore it’s creative side a bit more before trying to stomp it out.

Janna Van Hoof
Founder, Event Organizer


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