Art exhibit - June 18 to July ?
Back home, doing nothing.

Legal walls in Orleans

It looks like a new legal wall (8x12ft plywood) will finally get launched July 28th at the Orleans Skatepark, funded by the City and our local councilor, Bob Monette. There is already a lot of graff art there on the skatepark structures and concrete dividers, this will add a much larger “canvas”. There were supposed to be two walls initially, due to red tape and funding cuts it’s now only one, but it’s a start.

The City has approved this as a one year trial, their focus is to see if creating a legal wall will reduce local tagging. I don’t think the link is that simple. However, I DO see it as an opportunity for artistic expression by youth, something the city is building for them and their culture. Small steps, but hopefully positive ones. I suggest that for those that do tag - just don't do it near a legal wall. Then hopefully at the end of the trial the City will not close down the legal walls we have, and even build more next year throughout Ottawa.

For the opening on July 28th of this wall, I'm looking for someone (or a crew) to do a nice piece to kick it off as part of the official opening. After that - it's a free legal wall, like the House of Paint wall or the Tech wall - do whatever. Whoever does the initial piece would need their own paint, but it will be primed already. I'd like to see some pics of their work first to see what they can do so I can make a choice. Would be nice to have someone from the east end of Ottawa, and there is an honorarium for this first piece too - as in money.

Also, as part of the Orleans Youth Resource Centre Toast event, at the Skatepark on the 28th, I will have four temporary 4x8 panels set up for a graff demo, as well as for non-graff artists to experiment. For that I need a couple of artists that can work on two of the walls in the day - to show people how a piece develops. Also I would like to have some mentoring, of not only developing artists but also just any young kids and adults, to show some techniques, advice on paints, and get them to try a line or two on the other two walls. I can help with this, nothing fancy, just to show the public that there is serious talent and technique needed to do this, so they start to see beyond the vandals label. I’ve managed to get a bit of cash for these artists too. This might even lead to some local businesses interested in hiring you for a mural for their place.

Pass the word, have anyone interested contact me. Many of you know of me as someone that has been working for many years to preserve and promote this, not only from photos in Ottawa and Toronto but also as an active volunteer. I'm not interested in busting anyone, and I don't pass on any info to the cops or City.

This is a chance to show your skills as an artist and make some cash. And, it’s also an opportunity this summer to change the negative biases some of the public and city staff have towards graffiti murals and the associated youth culture. Hopefully from efforts like these the anti-graffiti bylaw – due to come into effect next year – will be amended to consider more creative solutions that just Eradication.

Mike Young

Ottawa Coordinator - CAVE (Communities Advancing Valued Environments)


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8 by 12 is an insult to graffiti artists. its much too small, and also putting it at the skate park means real artists can not paint there because there art wont last, to many children will just tag it with bull shit. i suggest if they city wanted to make a difference put in an 8ft by 40ft cinder-block wall its simple and relatively cheap, and definatly dont put it anywhere next to a skate park


I have spoken with a number of graff artists, they said they could use an 8x12 wall fine. Those are the same size as are used by artists in a number of Gatineau parks - I have some pics of them on my Flickr site at
If you look at the House of Paint wall or the back alleys of Queen west in Toronto there are a number of good pieces smaller than that. So I don't know which local graff artists would be insulted by an 8x12 wall - pass their info on to me and I'll see what they need.
As for an 8 ft by 40 ft cinder block wall being simple and relatively cheap - how much is relatively cheap? This would be on city property, with associated rules and limitations - the 8x12 wall, built by a contractor, with permits, will be about $1400. Cost aside, this is a city that was ready to ban ALL legal walls, until some of us talked them into not only a 1 year delay, but into adding another legal wall.
They wanted it at the skateboard park bedcaus that's an area a lot of youth use already, that is not that close to other structures. As I'd mentioned, there already is graff art on the structures and dividers there - and it seems to be left pretty much alone. Have you been to this skatepark? The users I see there look to be youth from 12-20 - not really children.

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