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“War on graffiti” Art Gallery of Ontario townhall meeting. Making public spaces available to Art. (includes Elicser)

April 26th, 2013  

On Tuesday April 16, 2013 I attended a town hall meeting at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Topic: War on graffiti. Making more public spaces available to art.

Those present tackled the issue on how best to address the issue of graffiti. They pondered such questions as:

Does an owner have the right to put-up their idea of art on their property?
Do we need to give more public spaces for people to express themselves through art?
“Is street art criminal?

Gary Taxali, one of the panelists believes “there are exponentially more artists creating brilliant works that have contributed to shaping the world of contemporary art beyond gallery walls and respected art publications.”

The panelists and host were:

– David Grosfield, Host
– John Kiru, Executive Director, Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas
– Kristyn Wong-Tam, Councillor, City of Toronto, Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale
– Gary Taxali, Award winning illustrator.

First, three highlights from the evening. Elicser was a graffiti artist. I say “was” because I define graffiti like the dictionary does —”unauthorized writing or drawing”. Elicser is now a highly regarded aerosol artist.
In fact, he was commissioned for one of the murals inside the skateboard plaza at Mississauga City Hall.

Elicser explains Graffiti at “War on Graffiti –Public Spaces” meeting (Art Gallery of Ontario)

Scott Mills is the social media officer for Toronto Police Services. He’s on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and his goal is to “build bridges between cops and communities through technology.” I follow @GraffitiBMXCop on Twitter because Officer Mills takes a positive approach to graffiti.

Scott Mills, Toronto Police @GraffitiBMXCop talks about Graffiti as Art in Public Spaces.

And by far the person I learned the most from that evening was John Kiru, Executive Director of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. I really really liked him! He gets the business advantages of Street Art.

John Kiru (Toronto Association of B.I.A.s) on Graffiti as Art –Public (and Private) Spaces

Last, for anyone truly interested in all the presentations and debate, here’s the entire evening from the host’s “Good evening” to the panelists’ good-bye handshakes.

“War on graffiti” Art Gallery of Ontario townhall meeting. Making public spaces available to Art.
(entire meeting 1:24:44 hrs)

For the record, I began researching graffiti back on April 19, 2009. It was supposed to have been a two-year study…





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