City Graffiti Managment Proposal

To read the City of
Ottawa’s 2007 Graffiti Management Proposal click here:

Talk to your city councillor about the value of legal graffiti walls like House of PainT! Find your city councillor’s contact info here: (NB: City of
Ottawa is mostly wards 12-18)

Remember to CC Clive Doucet and Diane Holmes (the two councillors for the House of PainT and Tech Wall wards… and two supporters of the walls) – tell them to keep up the good work!

Interview on CBC – Wed, May 2nd – about the new Graffiti Management Proposal – Props to Mike Young!

Feel free to comment on anything you see here.


8 responses to “City Graffiti Managment Proposal

  1. Excellent work – thanks for posting this. Was very early for my retired brain to start the day, but I did appreciate the chance to get a positive view across. The city rep had his budget a litttle high – I think is $1.9M, not $2.2M and he wasn’t in the loop on th gatineau program or what’s going on in Orleans. He tried to use the Orleans experience so far as a proof legal walls don’t work – but it is not built yet. Some on staff have claimed that since there is tagging in the area of the legal wall at House Of Paint (Bronson/Rideau bridge) then that proves their point – I don’t think so! If the bridge had been left clear, it would have been covered in tags – all to be removed at great expense, over and over.

  2. Sherrisse Davidson

    First of all, I can’t even fathom that they say it’s not art. Have any of these people ever taken a look at the beauty and immense talent on those walls???!!!! Graffiti is what keeps our city alive! This is the art that needs to be in our museums. This is the art worth paying for; and we get blessed w/ this talent for free…

    The city should be thanking these artisits for their contribution, not trying to shut them out They should be thankful that these artists’ outlets are through colour and beauty, rather than guns and knives.

    Looking at the pictures, it kills me, that they can’t appreciate the hard work, as well as all the money these artisits spend on supplies to create it.

    I am so outraged by this!

    You have my full support in trying to correct this situation.

  3. Props Mike!!! You are definitely a champion for the cause. Nic and I listened to your interview this morning and we definitely believe that graffiti murals cut down on the amount of tagging. We’ve seen it here in Toronto where some murals remain clean for years! They enhance the city and become a public/tourist attraction. Queen St. has definitely benefited way more from its graffiti alleys than been negatively affected by them.

    We think that if the government took the money that it spends on informing the public of the negative effects of graffiti and put those funds into programs that inform/encourage the artists, then that would solve a lot of the problems at the source. There is value in graffiti and it can be used in a way to enhance a city. Graffiti is here to stay. It is a cultural movement that we all should accept.

  4. (Here is a copy of a letter that I wrote to City Councillor’s. Sabra clarified it for me, but due to the urgent nature of the issue and me hearing about it at midnight just before the city council meeting, I worked with the information that I had. But the the discussion in it’s entirety is pretty hard graffiti art in general and I found a huge bias against it.)

    Dear Councillor Diane Holmes,

    I am a resident at your riding in Somerset and I was recently told about a motion to take down legalized graffiti space which would negatively affect the two historical hip hop sites in the city of Ottawa. I am urging you to oppose the motion and speak on behalf of your constituents, as well as the people whom are affected by such decision.

    This is very important as legalized street art space provides a venue for creative expression for the culture of youth to thrive. In the
    city of Toronto, City Hall has created an innovative program in which to cater to youth interest to combat vandalism. The project is called “graffiti art transformation project” in which positive messages are spread and promoted by using volunteers and leading street artists to provide mentorship to the youth to channel their energy in a positive legalized space to share and bring awareness of respect and sophistication of hip hop culture. The basic premise of the project is to steer the youth to look towards the positive rather than the negative.

    It is not legalized spaces that promotes vandalism, in fact it does the opposite. If the City of Ottawa Council decides to ban legalized
    mural space it would not remove graffiti vandalism, instead greater incidences of graffiti vandalism would occur because the youth will
    not be able to have any space nor interaction with positive cultural symbols to look towards. The idea that legalized space creates more
    vandalism is a terrible logic as applied to other social issues of inner cities, like prostitution and homelessness, the city must care and provide treatment not forcing them out and banishing them to outer skirmishes because it will never go away. The vandalists, homeless and prostitutes are people too! It’s about how the city cares for the social issues and finding healthy coping strategies dealing with problems.

    If the city cares about it’s citizens, it should also care and recognize the importance of culture, heritage, and encourage more diversity of art in the heart of the city, such as providing legalized
    space, and have something like the graffiti transformation project instead. However, we don’t and infact two historical hip hop sites for
    street artists to host somerset (ward 14) and capital (ward 17), and exercise their right to express their creativity are in jeopardy.

    If the legalized graffiti walls in the city were taken down this would effect a host of other cultural niches of the city, such as the annual
    breakdance event called ‘house of paint’ which relies on the legalized wall in a nearby riding (ward 17) to host the event. This event combines elements of positive hip hop which contributes to the culture of the city. It helps to counter the negative stereotypical images of graffiti vandalism by introducing the youth to all elements of hip hop (dance, music, art, poetry) in the city at the site.

    One of the major criticism of the city of Ottawa, I have heard was that the city lacks culture, soul, and new ideas. A motion that will destroy legal art space will exactly do that. Graffiti is art. It is a global phenomenon, as long as hip hop is alive and thriving so too will Graffiti art. The city cannot and should not ban legalized space.

    Please make the right decision and vote “no”! Please sway the rest of Council to vote against the motion and save the legal space in the
    name of art and creative expression of the youth. Let’s help the youth by channeling their youthful endeavors in a positive light that benefits the culture of the city and artists and for all.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Helen Choi
    Carleton University Student’s Association,
    Public Affairs Councillor

    Breakers 4 Unity: Carleton University Breakdance Association


    Hi Helen,

    Thank you for your E-mail regarding both legal graffiti walls and the City of Toronto’s Graffiti Transformation Program.

    I can advise that Councillor Doucet, moved a motion to amend the staff report to exclude these two walls from the proposed zero tolerance zones for one year, this exception would allow staff to examine the effectiveness of these established legal locations. Councillor Doucet’s motion also requested that representatives from the House of Paint be included in the City’s external stakeholder committee. This motion was accepted unanimously by the committee.

    Further to the above noted motion, Councillor Holmes put forth a motion directing staff to investigate and develop a program similar to the City of Toronto’s Graffiti Transformation Program. This motion was also carried unanimously by committee.

    The report, as amended, will be presented at the May 23 meting of City Council.

    Jeffrey Culham-Keays
    Assistant – Councillor Diane Holmes
    Somerset Ward -14

  6. Response to the Graffiti Managment Proposal posted in the Ottawa Citizen:

    Waste of tax money – The Ottawa Citizen

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Re: Committees want to fight graffiti with education, $1.9 million, May 4. City councillors don’t like graffiti and they want to spend $1.9 million on “education, eradication, enforcement and empowerment” on a special program to combat it.

    I can’t believe they want to waste taxpayers’ money on such nonsense when so many publicly funded groups like school boards are struggling for money and the arts are underfunded. And numerous other worthwhile community organizations need help.

    I’d rather see my portion of an anti-graffiti program go to the school boards or United Way rather than this. Get your priorities straight.

    Elaine Goldstein,



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