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Kingston city staff recommend street art pilot project

Click to play video: 'Kingston looking to OK street art with new pilot project' Kingston looking to OK street art with new pilot project
WATCH: Spray-painting on city property is usually frowned upon. But a staff recommendation heading to council next week will suggest otherwise. After a successful trial run in Doug Fluhrer Park, the City of Kingston is looking to reboot the idea of creating a "legal" graffiti wall. Paul Soucy has more – Feb 26, 2019

A proposed pilot project from the City of Kingston could beautify the city and reduce unsightly graffiti at the same time.

From Molly Brant to the K&P Rail Line and even He-Man, the concrete wall near Doug Fluhrer Park features a wide variety of visual creativity.

“It’s a wonderful rejuvenation of the park,” said Mary Farrar of the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour. “This wall has been crying out for something like this for so many years, and to actually see it happen is just wonderful for me.”

In 2014, the Friends of Kingston Inner Harbour organized a project called On the Wall. The result was more than a dozen murals painted by Kingston artists.  

READ MORE: City says increase in graffiti trend continues in Edmonton for 2nd year

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“Mostly, it’s about Kingston’s self-identity. Who are we? How is it expressed by art in a place that is very accessible to people?” Coun. Rob Hutchison said.  

Now, On the Wall could become a permanent fixture. City staff are recommending a 10-month pilot project starting this July that will see a graffiti or street art exemption applied to the wall at Doug Fluhrer Park.  

READ MORE: Calgary high school vandalized with graffiti targeting school resource officer

Hutchison is hopeful the project will go ahead, as he says such street art tends to alleviate problem graffiti.

“By embracing it, we’re breaking through some of the alienation that leads to that kind of graffiti,” Hutchison said.

And the evidence is in plain sight. Of all the murals, not one has been tagged again, with the exception of their dividing walls.

“You’re seeing that there is a community of artists with a mutually respectful approach to these things,” Hutchison said. “Then, of course, that encourages you.”

Hutchison adds that if the pilot project goes well, there’s a chance it could be expanded to other barren walls around the city in the future.

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