SF launches anti-graffiti campaign

April 24, 2009 1:42:45 PM PDT
San Francisco's Graffiti Advisory Board has announced a citywide effort aimed at reducing graffiti in neighborhoods and the drain on city resources to clean it up.

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The board, which advises the mayor and city supervisors, introduced several new programs Thursday to halt the spread of illegal graffiti vandalism, involving partnerships between residents, businesses and schools, as well as urban artists.

"A united front against vandalism, along with creative anti-graffiti programs like these that engage everyone, maximize our chances for success," said Edward Reiskin, director of the Department of Public Works.

"We also want to find ways for legitimate expression of street art, so that we capture San Francisco's artistic energy in legal, respectful and attractive ways," said Reiskin.

One of the programs will bring street artists into fourth through sixth grade classrooms in public schools where graffiti is most prevalent. The artists will speak to students about caring for public spaces and the difference between artistic expression and vandalism.

A related pilot program by the San Francisco Arts Commission and the Department of Public Works will connect young urban artists with private property owners to create new spaces for murals on building exteriors and for temporary art installations.

San Francisco Director of Cultural Affairs Luis Cancel said the city's Arts Commission has exhausted its resources to preserve and care for public monuments due to increased graffiti incidents.

"By educating our youth and engaging urban artists, we hope to engender civic pride and groom a new generation of guardians to protect and preserve the City's cultural legacy," said Cancel.

Other newly announced programs included an education and graffiti abatement partnership with businesses and residents in Chinatown, a highly trafficked tourist area where graffiti has become a significant problem.

City officials are also calling on residents to sign a pledge to join the fight against graffiti vandalism.

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