Here's a copy of the comments I had:
An online Mural Network will be developed…
• Will there be restrictions on artists allowed to register? Some may be “youth at risk” that the program is hoping to redirect. As such, they may be recent “taggers” but still should be accepted I think. For many the rush of tagging is like an addiction that needs to be redirected, with a support network. Turning them away or using this as a way to arrest them would be like turning away a drug addict until they could prove they were clean. Or arresting them when they showed up.
• Will the artist registry be run by the same group that runs the registry for illegal tagging? If so will be a conflict of interest, and will be very hard to get youth to sign up. I suggest this be kept at arms length some how, or handled by the City’s Community Arts group.
• Wall registry for property owners to request mural– property owners need an easy way to determine if murals are permitted for their area. Right now is a confusing description of zones for business use. Residential use seems to be allowed with an exception for walls in back alleys, after a case last year in Hintonburg, but not sure where this is defined.
Up to $50,000 in annual funding…
• Available to neighbourhoods experiencing high [level of] graffiti vandalism – when will the list be done for each year? Is there an appeal process?
• Allocation committee – the “mix’ of this needs to be defined, so that it’s not just big business and resident’s associations. Youth are often underrepresented on these groups, they need strong representation – and not just one or two token youth from a student’s council. Youth involved in street art need to be represented here too.
• Application process – needs to be quicker than some programs, that have a fall application for funds for next year. And should be fixed budget– not dependant on waiting for the city to finish overall budget approval each year.
• Eligible property owners – should also explicitly include residential in the list
• Maximum of $10,000 per project– this is too much for one mural, even if a whole back alley is done. That’s 1/5 of the budget. The focus is on local youth to ensure they are part of the solution – they are not free but not expensive. We should not be funding established professional mural companies.
• Program should not just target youth at risk or those unemployed, some artists are just youth. Partnerships should also include businesses and residents, not just the owners of the property, to encourage community building. They should also work to develop the youth’s business skills, and encourage mentorship.
Partnerships with local paint suppliers..
• Can’t just go for the cheapest solutions. Mural work by youth needs specialized aerosol paints, not that much more in cost, but the quality shows, and lasts much longer.
Mural guide from city..
• This has been long awaited. There is also a guide on Back alley transformations on the Toronto Police Services site as part of the Ontario School resource Officer manual – it’s at http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/graffiti/osro_manual_graffiti.pdf
Links to events
• Staff should also work to coordinate some workshops or events to show people more about mural work and give these youth an opportunity to be seen – legally – and perhaps even have an art sale.
Staff will work with stakeholders..
• List amendments or exception that has been made for residential murals in back alleys and other out of the way places
• Murals are no longer subject to various signage requirements, but need to define the criteria used by a bylaw officer when he/she decides that a mural that has been done is not art, that it looks too much like graffiti tags or lettering and must be taken down. This has happened in Ottawa and in Toronto.
• Need an appeal process for people that are cited under the bylaw, and need to ensure that choice of a mural solution is open to them. That may mean focusing on an area and encouraging a general cleanup, rather than isolated spots.
Ottawa will install on city assets ... if proven to be cost effective..
• Does this mean if the concept of using murals is in the future proven cost effective (already is) or that each case will be assessed and a recommendation made?
Mural coordinator position..
• If this the same person/office that is in charge of graffiti eradication, it will be a conflict of interest and a problem in attracting youth.