Ottawa mural consultation

Consultation on proposed mural initiatives under the Ottawa Graffiti Management Plan

The City of Ottawa sent out a request this week for feedback on their proposed mural initiatives. They seems to be heading in the right direction, and include an annual budget  of $50,000. We'll see what the final proposal in August looks like.

As many know in my work I focus on murals done by local graffiti artists, using a mix of lettering styles and other artistic elements. While any mural will deter tagging- whether done by graffiti artists or a local public school class or professional painter - using local graffiti artists gives them a way to work with property owners as part of the solution, to showcase their art, to contribute to their community, to redirect their efforts into mural work, to have the time to develop their talents and mentor others, and to make money.

I'm not sure who this request was sent to, I did receive forwarded copies from several of my contacts. I couldn't find a copy on the public City of Ottawa website, so I've attached a copy of the comment sheet here. Please take a look, pass it around, and submit by April 17/09. And do plan on attending their presentation to Council, in August, to show your involvement face to face.  Download Community consultation Ottawa murals

I have several concerns with the proposal, including:

  • allowing (and funding) murals on residential properties are not mentioned,
  • $10,000 per project is 1/5 of the total budget and I think way too much for one mural,
  • while it's great that a permit is no longer needed, there should be guidelines or a process to ensure that the bylaws officers won’t show up after a mural is done and declare it is graffiti and has to go,
  • the Allocation committee “mix” needs to be defined, to ensure it has a balanced representation, including the art community and youth,
  • the program should not just target youth that are at risk or unemployed,
  •  while staff has said they have conducted research on mural programs and other aspects of this, more details on this should be made available. With their stated biases in this area there is a risk that this research has been targeted to enforce a particular bias, with sources fed mainly by selective research summaries from other like-minded groups,
  • they refer to a "4E" model, they missed Toronto's 5th E - Economic Development, as shown here on the Toronto Police Services site, with links to some good resources.  Ottawa staff also missed meeting with Cst. Scott Mills in Toronto, the TPS Legal Graffiti Art Coordinator.

I'll add my actual comment form later in here.

The cover letter is as follows:

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