St. Cloud State students use racist graffiti to affirm anti-racist solidarity

Racist graffiti was found last week on a St. Cloud State University (SCSU) campus building bulletin board. While this was certainly not the first time such graffiti has appeared on campus, the school’s response was a departure from the usual practice of removing the offensive language as quickly as possible. After students of Yolanda Lehman’s “Race in America” class put up a display in the east stairwell of Stewart Hall to honor Dorothy Height, who helped planned the 1963 March on Washington and later received the Presidential Medal of Honor, racially offensive words scrawled on the display were discovered March 31. “I was asked what I think should be done,” said Lehman. Continue Reading

Scratch Games: Understanding graffiti

Power, self-expression and rebellion are the key words to understanding any discussion about graffiti. Recent angst about a growing problem in Minneapolis prompted the Uptown Association to present a Graffiti Education Meeting at Bryant Square Park. Sergeant Giovanni Veliz, a Minneapolis Police Department graffiti investigator, gave an experienced report of graffiti in Uptown with 5th Precinct Crime Prevention Specialist Tom Thompson and Angela Brenny of Minneapolis Solid Waste and Recycling (MSWR). The good news is that in Uptown, as defined by CARAG, East Isles, ECCO, Lowry Hill East and Lyndale, only about 1% of the graffiti is gang related. Veliz says it can take many years to master the art of deciphering between the two, so residents shouldn’t necessarily worry about learning how to do it. Continue Reading

Tagging in Seward

In the early morning hours of September 27, a tagger hit about a dozen businesses along Franklin. He was captured on videotape by one of the businesses, which captured images and has circulated them in the neighborhood in the hope of identifying the tagger. According to Greg Sales, whose building at 2200 E. Franklin Avenue was one of those tagged, clean-up costs his business about $250 per incident. This building has been treated with a special graffiti protector, which makes clean-up of the brick somewhat easier. Sales says that costs for buildings where an entire wall or garage was sprayed would be much higher. Continue Reading

Tagging in Seward

In the early morning hours of September 27, a tagger hit about a dozen businesses along Franklin. He was captured on videotape by one of the businesses, which captured images and has circulated them in the neighborhood in the hope of identifying the tagger. According to Greg Sales, whose building at 2200 E. Franklin Avenue was one of those tagged, clean-up costs his business about $250 per incident. The cost would be even higher, but the building has been treated with a special graffiti protector, which makes clean-up of the brick somewhat easier. In addition to businesses, the tagger marked bus stop shelters and garbage containers. Continue Reading

To paint or remove paint —two choose weapons in local graffiti war

Erik Espeland prefers a rag and a can of paint remover. “Since late April or the beginning of May, we’ve cleaned up graffiti on Lake Street, from the Target store at the Minnehaha Mall to West River Road, two or three times,” said Espeland, who counts on about 30 volunteers. With direction and some funding from the City and from Longfellow Community Council, Espeland, who calls his group REMOV (Removing Existing Marks of Vandalism), says that high visibility areas that were a problem before are getting better. Eric Gustafson picks the paint brush. “About a year and half ago we started a huge mural project to get the whole community involved—especially at-risk kids,” said Gustafson, assistant director of the Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO), who says that groups totaling some 400 volunteers—mostly youths—have completed 12 community murals in the Corcoran Neighborhood as deterrents to local graffiti artists, or taggers. Continue Reading

A stunning Native mural replaces decades old eyesore

Combine a City of Minneapolis graffiti elimination grant, a strong desire to remember a victim of a long-ago serial killing and mix in what some call a “cowboy” neighborhood and add a headstrong American Indian artist. The result is a stunning 40-foot mural coming to life in South Minneapolis. Located in a foreground view of Minneapolis’ downtown towers is a scene depicting an old Ojibwe dance drum surrounded by jingle dress dancers in a grassy meadow that runs somewhere under Highway 55, perhaps even sharing space with the Light Rail Maintenance Depot. Huh? Well that’s what it appears to be when you stand at the intersection of South 16th Avenue and East 18th Street. Continue Reading

Graffiti prevention and intergenerational art come together

When people care about their neighborhood, they are less likely to put up graffiti and more likely to help prevent it. With that in mind, the City of Minneapolis created micro grants for innovative projects designed to assist with graffiti eradication and prevention efforts. As one of the grant recipients, Southwest Senior Center is combining graffiti prevention with a large intergenerational art opportunity. The community mosaic mural project will bring together over 100 people of all ages who will work to design and build a 100 square foot mosaic mural that will grace the parking lot wall of the Center. The Center is partnering with students at Barton Open School, EHFNA, and CARAG to bring many people into the project. Continue Reading