Toronto is attempting to crack down on graffiti in the most annoying, bureaucratic, redundant manner we can think of. The city has created an official panel of five city staffers with backgrounds in “the arts, urban design, architecture and other relevant disciplines” charged with deciding whether street art and graffiti is art. Again. Haven’t we been over this countless times?
Their first meeting was held on November 2 leading to no real results, as the committee faced off with building owners complaining about markings on their walls. To Toronto’s credit, the city has been fairly receptive of street art for it’s artistic value, officially recognizing Graffiti Alley – a series of colourful backstreets on the block leading up to City Hall– however convincing home owners of the same is a trickier endeavor.
David Liss, the director of Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, had the great insight to propose the following:
“Certainly the Queen West Alley has some great work, so I’m in favour of preservation, maybe they could start marketing it as a tourist attraction.”
Judging by the reports, the so-called official graffiti panel can’t even begin to agree on the definition of street art, let alone make any executive decisions as they steadily opted to defer judgement. Liss further comments in one of the few logical sentiments to come out the overall discussion:
“If anyone thinks that an official programme will reduce graffiti, they’re sadly mistaken. Many graffiti artists will intentionally not participate and continue working unsanctioned. There is a strain of thought amongst certain graffiti artists and taggers to ‘destroy’ and vandalise while others see their markings as a way to claim space from ever-increasing corporate control.”