A mural located at Harris Street Wellington point costing more than $6000 has become the scene of debate and controversy as the current graffiti prevention methods have repeatedly failed. When this failure was brought to the attention of the City Infrastructure member Ann Marshall, Community Development Team members including Byron Shreeve and the Councilor for the area, Wendy Boglary the response was muted and ignorant of the problem. Further investigations into the matter show an incorrect approach towards the target audience and the subject matter of the mural are primarily to blame.
A letter dated, 9th February, written by the Community Safety Officer Byron Shreeve and signed by the Group Manager of Community and Cultural Services Greg Jensen indicates the Community Development Team no longer wishes to consult community members for expertise on graffiti prevention matters.
Christian Griffiths is a mural and aerosol artist, who has eighteen years experience, and until last year ran his business in Redland City creating murals as a method of graffiti prevention. In 2005, Christian was commissioned to create a mural at the Harris Street underpass which involved young people at risk of entering the Juvenile Justice system. Christian has worked with numerous other local councils, schools and youth organisations, including IN-SYNC and Boystown. On a variety of occasions Christian has offered his services for free or at a low cost as an artist or as a consultant to council to provide effective solutions about graffiti prevention in the Redland area and in recent years he has been repeatedly ignored or denied. This is problematic as council spends $135,000+ each year on graffiti removal and council minutes indicate council has as zero tolerance approach towards graffiti, but a Community Development approach to prevention.
Christian says “Its not about me or my art work. It’s about the people engaging with aerosol art and a lack of opportunity to do so in appropriate circumstances. This mural has completely missed the mark with any of the objectives. It hasn’t prevented graffiti, a wide target audience hasn’t been sought and the Expressions of Interest developed for the initiative wasn’t relevant or applicable for the situation. At every step of the process I informed Council of the associated risks with this project and now the rate-payers such as myself, will pay the ongoing price.”
See: Bayside Bulletin article “Cool tunnel Art” 21/7/05 page 26.
See council minutes for information detailing the costs associated with graffiti and other policy decisions regarding graffiti.
Please feel free to contact either Ainslie or Christian for further comments or information regarding this topic. Original communications and further supporting documents can be provided on request.