AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over the years, the City of Austin spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove illegal graffiti. Its latest efforts now focus on being proactive rather than reactive.
A local non-profit called Creative Action partnered with the city, which is trying something new through its “Make Art Not Mark” and “Adopt a Median” programs.
Creative Action’s teen public arts collective called Color Squad adopted a concrete wall on the side of Lott Park in east Austin, instead of a median.
Teen artists painted a mural on that wall, which was unveiled Monday night.
On its website, the city says “studies show installing an art mural in high-tagged areas works effectively as a deterrent for future vandalism.”
While the city hopes to see the new street art act as a deterrent to graffiti, Color Squad’s director, Lindsay Palmer, told KXAN the partnership has several other benefits. She said a blank canvas with this kind of colorful potential is hard to find.
“You know, walls are being torn down and redeveloped and changing hands really rapidly, so it’s definitely been hard to find a place where we feel like it’s going to be there for a while, that it’s going to be part of the community, that it’s going to be owned by the community,” Palmer explained.
The Lott Park mural, Palmer said, was inspired by the city’s diverse population.
“I think what we hope is that it feels like Austin, in a very inclusive way, that maybe everyone can see something of themselves in this mural,” she said. “Whether you’re new or you’ve been here forever.”
“I would consider this mural very much a community art because we brought in everyone, as many people as we could find to help,” said Rachael Osgood.
Osgood is senior at Anderson High School. She said she’s been part of Color Squad since her freshman year.
“Art is power,” she said. “It is how we get involved, how we come together as a community and explore a lot of hard concepts.”
If illegal graffiti is a problem in your area, you can submit an application to install a mural. You can also call 311 for complaints of graffiti as well.