(Washington, DC) MuralsDC will kick off its 2011 program with a panel discussion to explore the root of, and solutions for, graffiti Tuesday, July 26, 6-8 pm, at Busboys & Poets (14 and V Streets, NW). The panel will feature former graffiti taggers, current artists and representatives of DC government agencies who abate graffiti and fund public art. The event will also feature a preview of the upcoming documentary film “The Red Line Project,” which explores the proliferation of graffiti that runs along Metrorail’s Red Line.
“By the end of May, the Department of Public Works (DPW) had already responded to twice as many requests to remove graffiti as we completed in all of last year,” said DPW Director William O. Howland Jr. “While initiatives like MuralsDC have helped to keep repeatedly tagged walls graffiti-free, we need to get to the root of the problem to identify permanent solutions.”
MuralsDC was created to combat the rising tide of illegal graffiti. The program positively engages District youth by teaching proper art techniques. It also provides supplies and a legal means for youth to practice and perform their skill in a way that promotes respect for public and private property and community awareness. Through the program, more than 30 works of public art have been installed throughout the city.
"The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) supports MuralsDC, because it sheds light on the artistic talents of graffiti artists,” said DCCAH Interim Director Ayris Scales. “We feel it's important to fund programs that allow young residents to express themselves legally and without the worry of repercussions. Whether someone is painting oil on canvas or aerosol spray on a wall, their art is an expression of themselves that should be valued."
The panel will be moderated by Mazi Mutafa, who supervises the artwork for MuralsDC. Mutafa is the executive director of Words, Beats and Life, which provides an array of educational outreach programs to District youth and teaches them the art of “legal” graffiti.
MuralsDC was launched in 2007 by Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham. The program, coordinated by DCCAH and DPW, positively engages District youth by teaching proper art techniques and respect for public property. Throughout the summer, the program will install murals in Wards 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8.