City getting skateboard park

The city of Pembroke is getting a permanent skateboard park.

On Tuesday, council unanimously agreed to allow the Barrymore Parking Lot, located on Lake Street east of Albert Street, to be converted into a skateboard park at no cost to the city.

City CAO Terry Lapierre informed the combined committee meeting there has been continuing discussion about establishing a skateboard park for many years. He said a temporary solution was previously established in the Pembroke Memorial Centre’s overflow parking lot, but the wooden ramps and other equipment provided didn’t stand up to use, weather or storage, and needed to be replaced.

Lapierre said the Barrymore lot hasn’t been used in five to seven years and is located in the downtown, making it easily accessible for young people.

The CAO said Jerry Novack, director of The Grind Youth Group, stepped forward and has been instrumental in acquiring equipment for use by area youth, and has actively been developing youth programs. An anonymous donor stepped forward to deposit $100,000 in funding towards the development and equipping of the park, with the money being placed in a trust account. The equipment purchased will be owned by the city.

Lapierre said a volunteer group will be fixing up the lot by removing weeds and sealing cracks in the pavement, and Novack has committed to take care of the park’s equipment, and to volunteer to develop and run the skateboard park related programming at the site, under the auspice of the city’s economic development, recreation and tourism department.

The CAO said this arrangement means the facility and the equipment will fall under the city’s insurance umbrella. Plus, there remains the potential to further expand the park over time if the community at large steps up to help do so.

Coun. Pat Lafreniere, who has championed the cause of bringing a skateboard park to the city’s downtown, said this arrangement is too good of a deal to pass up, and she is backing it 100 per cent.

Novack said this new park will mean the program which was started three years ago will be able to continue and expand in all seasons.

“Besides the Giant Tiger location, we now have an outdoor one for the summer,” he said. The store has allowed an indoor one to operate on their second floor over the winter months.

Novack said the parking lot has been fixed up this weekend, with it being open Wednesday morning for skateboarders, using existing equipment until the new gear can be purchased.

On Saturday, July 25 from noon to 3 p.m., The Grind will be hosting a skateboard competition in the new park.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca

Article source: http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2015/07/18/city-getting-skateboard-park

Graffiti artist pranks McDonald’s billboard

Dropped your phone in the toilet? McDonald’s.

Holiday blues? McDonald’s.

So it’s not surprising that one sarcastic Brit in Bristol has taken it upon themselves to ‘improve’ the billboards by adding a slightly more truthful emoji at the end.

Good times indeed.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/foodanddrinknews/11743488/Graffiti-artist-pranks-McDonalds-billboard.html

FTII furore: Behind the angry graffiti and empty classrooms – Hindustan Times

Cast of characters: Enraged students, angry filmmakers, confused ministry  officials, a sulking actor

Setting: A film institute. Time has stood still. Equipment is outdated. Entrants from seven years ago are struggling to complete a three-year course

Direction: None

The strike at FTII has the makings of an absurd drama.

Yudhishtir from the Mahabharat is appointed chairman of the country’s premier film school. Gajendra Chauhan’s only claim to fame is the 1980s TV serial. Most of his recent appearances have been on the campaign trail for the country’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Angry students boycott classes and course work. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy responds by calling them Naxalites; RSS mouthpiece Organiser labels them ‘anti-Hindu’ and ‘mentally challenged’.

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Students have scattered representations of their rage across FTII’s Pune campus. A graveyard installation bears one cross each for Film, Drama, Music and Freedom of Expression.

The students, meanwhile, are so enraged by Chauhan and other recent political appointments that their strike continues for over a month, and keeps going.

Across the Pune campus of the Film and Television Institute of India, they have scattered representations of their rage: A graveyard bearing one cross each for Film, Drama, Music and Freedom of Expression; graffiti that says ‘FTII is not Modi’s toy’; a handicapped man made of film reel.

The most telling is a large poster that says Unplug, Alt, Delete, demanding that the institute hit refresh. Because it’s not just about Chauhan.

India’s premier film institute does not have enough teachers, equipment or labs; it has never bridged the chasm it has faced since analog turned to digital; and it has a biting backlog that has built up into a vicious circle of too many students trying to share too little infrastructure, leading to more backlog and so on.

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A handicapped man made of film reel, is another installation to mark students’ protest at FTII.

“There are two studios, two cameras and one common lens kit on campus,” says Swapnil Ninawe, a student of direction. “Setting up, shooting and dismantling one set takes a week. Students have to wait their turn. These long waits continue all the way through post-production.”

Ninawe joined FTII in 2008 and should have graduated four years ago. He’s still struggling to complete course work and hopes to graduate in December.

There are currently 132 seats across 11 diploma and certificate courses at the institute, but 400 students on campus; about 200 – or 50% – have failed to complete their syllabus in the three years allotted to them.

“Faculty is a big area of concern. The camera department has just one permanent faculty member, the rest are temporary. Posts have not been filled for years. The pay scale is low,” says sound department faculty Vishwas Nerlekar. “Though the infrastructure is sufficient on paper, due to the extension of courses, there are times when two or three batches are using the same facilities.”

Nerlekar and five other faculty and former faculty members have now come together to form the Save FTII panel, to negotiate with the government and students in an attempt to end the standoff.

“I am concerned about the students,” Nerlekar says. “A new batch is supposed to take an entrance exam on August 9.”

Students and prominent ex-students argue that the strike is important precisely because this is a critical time for the institute.

“Many of us are BJP supporters. I voted for the BJP,” says Lavanya Ramaiah, 26, a third-year editing student. “But it is worrying to see people of certain beliefs and loyalties appointed to academic institutions with no attempt to maintain academic stature.”

Former FTII chairman Adoor Gopalakrishnan, also a former student here, and a National Award-winning filmmaker, would agree.

“A premier institute such as this one has to be given its due respect. According to FTII Society rules, its members must be eminent people from the fields of cinema, art, literature and theatre. This year that was not the case, barring a few eminent people who have resigned,” he says. “Students are agitating against a lack of qualification. Their struggle is for FTII’s future students, who otherwise may not know what it once stood for.”

Gopalakrishnan is referring to Anagha Ghaisas, Rahul Solapurkar, Narender Pathak and Shailesh Gupta, who were appointed to the FTII Society this year.

Ghaisas calls herself “a proud RSS supporter” (the RSS is the ideological parent of the BJP). In a 2014 court order over a disputed payment, she was described as not knowing the difference between fiction and documentary.

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Pathak is former Maharashtra president of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Gupta made a film in 2014 called Shapath Modi Ki (Modi’s Oath), a gushing paean to the now prime minister.

“Pro-Modi posts crowd Gupta’s Facebook timeline. One can argue over whether Facebook should be used to measure a person’s ideology. But in a country where the prime minister communicates via Twitter, sentiments on social media matter,” says Ranjit Nair, 27, a third-year student of direction, sipping tea in the al-fresco section of the canteen.
Three FTII Society members – Oscar-winning sound engineer Resool Pookutty, and two National Award winners, cinematographer Santosh Sivan and actor Pallavi Joshi – have resigned in support of the students’ protest.

“When Chauhan’s appointment was made public, we had no idea who he was. We had to google the guy,” says Vikas Urs, 30, former general secretary of the student association and third-year editing student. “His credentials didn’t match former chairmen’s. Then the FTII Society members’ names caught our attention.”

A miffed Mishra concludes: “FTII is a lab. But for cinematic experiments, not political ones.”

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(With inputs from Kanika Sharma)

Article source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/higherstudies/ftii-furore-behind-the-angry-graffiti-and-empty-classrooms/article1-1370929.aspx

State police warn against graffiti on Centralia highway – News – Republican Herald

CENTRALIA — State police are reminding people that spray painting old Route 61 is illegal, but the graffiti is more than illegal, it’s nearly a mile of memories.

“Centralia is unique in its entire situation with it being now abandoned and it was once a relatively large community, at least in the southern end of Columbia County. It had multiple churches and businesses but it’s now essentially an abandoned town,” Cpl. Corey Wetzel, patrol unit supervisor, said Wednesday. “We want everyone to be aware it is illegal and they can be charged with criminal mischief.”

Vehicles once traveled over the 0.7-mile road, an original part of Route 61, until it became too damaged for traffic. A mine fire has been burning under the borough since 1962, causing nearly all of its residents to evacuate and leaving the roads in disrepair with massive cracks and plant overgrowth.

Now, people travel on foot over the graffiti highway for tourism and memories.

“I took several pictures of it. Some of them are cool designs and stuff like that but with graffiti, it’s something that everyone once in their life has done or will do. They think, ‘Oh, this is a really cool place to do it and a lot of people are going to come through and see my work.’ It’s an abandoned road so they probably think no one is going to care but now people are caring about it,” Roy McFadden, 28, of New York, said Saturday.

The highway is now plastered with graffiti after years of tourism — some crude and some much more meaningful.

Spray painted love notes and messages of hope and peace are spread down the crumbled road between foul messages and pictures of private parts.

“It may be just an abandoned highway, but it’s a very peaceful place to go and I can totally feel the history when I’m walking down the … highway. A lot of the graffiti is pretty crude, but my favorite thing to do is just walk slowly and try to find new pieces of art I haven’t seen before,” Nicholas Cellucci, 21, of Bloomsburg, said.

Messages light up the decrepit road like “fight like a girl” with a breast cancer ribbon and “Look up. You’re welcome,” directing people to look up at the beautiful view.

The graffiti has always been a problem, Wetzel said, but it has increased over the years with tourists.

“If you search for urban exploration, Centralia will come up. If you go there on a weekend, you’ll see a number of vehicles parked — presumably people out looking,” Wetzel said.

“It’s been one of the places I wanted to visit for a while because it was part of the reason for the ‘Silent Hill’ movies and games because there was smoke coming out of the town and hills and stuff like that and this was one of their inspirations for the movie,” McFadden said. “I’ve always wanted to come and see what they hype was about.”

Centralia may attract visitors with the graffiti highway, but they’re also interested in its rich history.

“My wife has family that used to live around here in Danville … She said there was steam coming out of the ground from a mine fire that’s been going on for years,” Robert Magobet, 54, of Philadelphia, said.

Visitors travel hundreds of miles to see the steam emitted from the cracks in the evacuated borough.

“Walking down the road I’m like I can’t believe this was an actual road that was used at one time with how overgrown and cracked it is now,” McFadden said. “The fact that the trees are just over growing in the road — I think it’s awesome that mother nature is finally reclaiming what’s hers.”

“The ground is actually like buckled up, it looks like the ground is coming up. This big piece of black top is just swollen,” Magobet said.

“It’s kind of cool because it’s almost post-apocalyptic like if there were no people left, this is kind of what it would look like if everybody died,” James Ravelle, Bethlehem, said.

Steam isn’t the only thing emitted from the underground fire.

“There are areas where the fire is burning underground and the ground is subject to caving there are inherent dangers with that — gas and fumes being expelled through the ground,” Wetzel said. “There are gases that are being emitted by mine fires. They are hazards.”

Centralia is part of the state police at Bloomsburg’s regular patrol for the graffiti issues and safety of visitors.

“We don’t encourage people to go there, but if they do they should take precautions. Don’t go alone and let people know where you’re going,” Wetzel said.

Many visiting the borough think police patrolling to stop the graffiti is a waste of time.

“Who cares? It’s an abandoned section of highway nobody is driving down it. It’s listed on Google Maps as ‘Route 61 destroyed,’ ” Ravelle said.

“If they’re not doing that, they’re probably going to be doing something worse so I would choose the lesser of the two evils and let them graffiti it up,” McFadden said.

“For that, it’s not like it’s in the city and they are up on businesses and stuff like that,” Magobet said.

Article source: http://republicanherald.com/news/state-police-warn-against-graffiti-on-centralia-highway-1.1914661

A street art culture clash as graffiti goes mainstream – Detroit Free Press

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To get to one of Detroit’s most powerful and shocking pieces of street art, you have to ignore the barricades set up at the north end of the Dequindre Cut. The idyllic recreational walk way connects the riverfront with Eastern Market and turns into a construction zone below street level.

It’s a dim and dank forest of industrial decay, overgrown weeds and relentless graffiti, some of it profane. But there’s also a fully realized mural on a concrete wall set deep into the west side of the Cut that will stop you in your tracks: A shadowy figure, hiding amid enigmatic calligraphy, wears a blue hooded sweatshirt and points a giant handgun right at you.

Drawing meaning and intensity from its location, the piece is a beautiful nightmare. In the midst of Detroit’s nascent renaissance, the mural, by an anonymous artist, remains a disturbing reminder of the city’s dangerous past and, for too many, its present reality.

“Is it illegal art? Yes,” said Matt Eaton, director-curator of the Red Bull House of Art in Eastern Market and a longtime champion of street art. “Does that take away from its relevance as social commentary? No!”

Eaton spoke last week while giving a Free Press reporter and photographer an annotated tour of some of Detroit’s street-art hotspots, though he had never seen this particular mural until the Free Press led him to it.

“That person who made this has an important message to convey. Who knows what value this person may have in their community. They have something to say, and they’re trying any way they can to say it.”

Street art — both authorized and unauthorized — is everywhere in Detroit. Hundreds of colorful murals now decorate the city, many of them highly polished works by a mix of some of the best-known street artists in the country and gifted local painters. Developments are moving so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. Two weeks ago organizers announced the creation of Murals in the Market, a nine-day festival in September in which some 45 national and local artists will create dozens of large-scale, commissioned pieces in Eastern market.

Last week, however, the world-famous street artist Shepard Fairey, who recently completed an 18-story mural at One Campus Martius at the bequest of real estate mogul Dan Gilbert and others, was arraigned on felony charges that while in town he also defaced public and private property without permission. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in jail and fines that could exceed $10,000 or more.

The rush of news and the controversy surrounding Fairey’s arrest have re-ignited a debate over the value of street art, its connection to unauthorized graffiti and vandalism and the increasing role that public art is playing in revitalizing and beautifying the city in myriad neighborhoods, from southwest Detroit to Eastern Market, downtown, the Grand River corridor and elsewhere.

What’s unfolding can be read as a clash of cultures: Those who see value in the complex history and tradition of street art, its connection to social protest and its outlaw roots — even as they disavow its excesses — versus those who don’t. On another level, Detroit is witnessing the tension that occurs when a former subculture becomes absorbed, sometimes co-opted, by the mainstream.

It’s great if it’s legal

City officials say they’re all in favor of street art — as long as it’s legal.

“There is a difference between street art and illegal tagging — graffiti,” said Alexis Wiley, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s chief of staff. “Street art is fantastic. There are places where it’s added to an area. But bottom line: If you don’t ask for property owners’ permission you’re committing a crime.”

Street artists and their advocates argue that the celebration of risk and its connection to status is so deeply embedded within the DNA of street art that clear-cut distinctions between art and crime remain more elusive than the plain text of a city ordinance.

“From the perspective of a graffiti writer, the debate about whether graffiti is art or crime is pointless because, ideally, it is both,” graffiti historian Eric Felisbret wrote last year in the New York Times.

Many street artists concede that the police have a job to do and that ugly and destructive name-tagging should be punished.

But they also say that not all graffiti is created equal. In this view, artistically rendered signatures in stylized calligraphy on an abandoned building — to say nothing of a strategically placed and deftly painted hoodlum pointing a gun — are markers of identity, vanity, subversion and commentary. They are not the cause of urban decay but reactions to it.

“Any street artist who is at a top level started somewhere by picking up a spray can, and probably worked illegally because they didn’t have other options,” said Freddy Diaz, a celebrated 22-year-old artist from southwest Detroit. Diaz has completed nearly 20 commissioned murals in his neighborhood and has begun to show in galleries and work overseas.

“I don’t deface property,” he said. “But when I was 16, I did illegal work, and I almost did jail time. That’s when I learned to make money with my art, and I had mentors who helped show me the right way to do things. … If you make graffiti a felony, that’s clipping the wings of a kid. There won’t be any opportunity to educate them.”

Like Fairey, many of today’s established street artists continue to do unauthorized work, partly as a way to reaffirm their street cred. But others have decided that as they’ve gotten older and matured, the risks are no longer worth it.

“For me, in the last 15 years, I’ve been trying to promote the positives of the genre,” said the 43-year-old Detroit artist known as Fel3000ft. “Being an older guy with kids, I haven’t worked illegally for some 20 years.”

Many in Detroit’s street art community say that Duggan’s aggressive response toward graffiti — which stretches back a dozen years to his days as Wayne County prosecutor — threatens to smother Detroit’s reputation as a haven for artistic creativity. They point to the stiff charges Fairey faces, a crackdown on local offenders and an episode last year in which dozens of building owners were mistakenly ticketed for blight violations because of murals they approved.

Detroit artist Kobie Solomon, best known for his authorized gargantuan mural of a mythical beast on the side of the Russell Industrial Center, which is visible from I-75, said that he wouldn’t be surprised if Fairey’s case caused some national and local artists who have been doing authorized work in Detroit to reconsider their allegiance to the city.

“The eyes of the international art world are on Detroit right now, and it’s a bigger and more delicate situation than people are aware of,” said Solomon. “How it’s all handled could determine whether we’re viewed as a progressive city or an archaic place.”

City officials say the penalties are part of trying to change the culture of a city anxious to leave behind its reputation for lawlessness. For decades graffiti artists had their run of the streets. Wiley resisted suggestions that art was under attack. She noted that of 30 people arrested for graffiti in the last year, fewer than 10 were Detroit residents.

Three Grosse Pointe teens were sentenced to 60 hours of community service for defacing two buildings on Michigan Avenue and Griswold Street last summer in downtown Detroit.

A few weeks later, residents applauded when Detroit Police Chief James Craig announced the arrests of five young men for spray-painting a couple of buildings on Detroit’s west side.

“If they believe there’s such a right to do street art, then they should start tagging their own homes,” Wiley said.

“If you wouldn’t do it on your own house, why is it OK to come to Detroit and do it on a building and believe that it’s some sort of social protest?”

Many residents near where vandalism occurs worry that graffiti can lead to neighborhood decline.

Gail Dorsey, a University District neighborhood block captain in northwest Detroit, said that she enjoys the murals she’s seen around town that have been carefully planned and well-executed, but she draws the line at unauthorized work, especially in or near residential communities.

“When I see the cans come out and it’s scribbles and bad language, I don’t see anything artistic about that,” she said.

“There are empty buildings on Livernois, and I don’t want to see people come out and put up stuff without permission, because there’s no way to count on people putting up something good.”

Vibrant cultural scene

Some arts advocates say the issue is bigger than the Duggan administration’s relationship with graffiti-related art. Eaton of the Red Bull gallery charged that the city isn’t doing nearly enough to nurture Detroit’s vibrant cultural scene. He noted that there hasn’t been a cultural affairs director or department at city hall for a decade.

“That would at least be a place to start, and it would improve communication if someone there had more knowledge and sensitivity about the arts,” said Eaton, who is also a partner at the Library Street Collective, the downtown gallery that helped bring Fairey to Detroit

Wiley said she wasn’t in a position to commit to the idea of creating a cultural affairs post, but she emphasized that officials were interested in a closer relationship with the arts community. “I’d love to start a conversation,” she said.

Detroit’s exploding street art scene is among the most visible signs of the way the arts are infusing energy into the city. Culture is improving quality of life, attracting suburbanites and tourists and providing the fodder for a regular stream of national media stories highlighting Detroit’s comeback.

The legions of artists and young creatives who have been pouring into the city, the renewed relevancy of institutions like the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Detroit Institute of Arts, and homegrown masterpieces like Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project are all also part of the excitement.

Culture has become a magnet for investment with the foundation world, particularly the Troy-based Kresge Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami, pouring more than $50 million into the city’s cultural scene since 2006. (And that’s not counting the more than $366 million that foundations gave to the grand bargain to protect the DIA and shore up pensions during the city’s bankruptcy.)

Last week, a family of three from Montreal strolled through the Belt, the exuberant, art-filled alley, curated by the Library Street Collective, in the middle of the Z parking garage, which itself houses 24 murals, including those by leading national figures such as Revok, Hense and Maya Hayuk.

On their way to Chicago, the French-Canadian threesome stopped in Detroit for the day because they had heard about the city’s rebound and that art was leading the charge.

“We’re seeing all of this beautiful street art, and all of the life at Cadillac Square,” said Marie-Josee Dufour. “We can see the effort people are making, but the art was a surprise. We thought we’d spend all day at the museums, but instead we’re just walking around and looking. We’ll come back, and we’ll talk about Detroit as a place to go on vacation.”

Graffiti art’s history

The history of contemporary graffiti art begins in the late ’60s and early ’70s in rough neighborhoods in Philadelphia and New York. Kids began simple name-tagging, and soon subway cars were being covered with spray paint. By the end of the decade graffiti was assimilated into early hip-hop culture. Certain kinds of tagging also became identified with gang activity, though graffiti had already been used for decades in some circles to mark territory.

By the ’80s, a more mature kind of street art began to emerge, spreading to walls around American cities and around the world. Artists moved beyond text to more complex imagery. Keith Haring’s cartoon-like figures and social and political themes began to cross over into mainstream culture. Haring and the gifted Jean-Michel Basquiat transcended their graffiti roots to become art-world stars. And graffiti and street-art styles began to influence advertising, fashion and commercial graphic design.

In the last decade the mainstreaming of street art took a great leap forward with the increasing celebrity of two artists — the anonymous Brit known as Banksy, the subject of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” (and who bombed the abandoned Packard Plant in 2010 with two murals), and Fairey, who skyrocketed to fame in 2008 on the wings of his ubiquitous “Hope” poster of Barack Obama.

These days many street artists also show in galleries, where their works can sell for tens of thousands of dollars or more. A Banksy street mural, excavated from London, sold for $1.1 million at auction in 2013. Fairey is a one-man conglomerate, selling prints, books, skateboards and lines of clothing and accessories outfitted with his calling-card imagery like the Obey logo and Andre the Giant face.

“All things that are subcultures and successful eventually become part of the larger culture and end up having a dollar value put on them,” said Roger Gastman, co-author of “The History of American Graffiti” (Harper Design, $40) and a co-curator of “Art in the Streets,” a high-profile 2011 exhibition of street art at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

The proliferation of mural festivals, commissions, gallery shows and celebrity have made it possible for many street artists to expand their creative horizons and earn a living. But it has also led to commodification and evidence that the genre has lost its edge. Gastman said that street art hasn’t necessarily been sapped of all its energy and creativity but that it has been “diluted.”

“More people become interested, more people become fans and less people know the true history,” he said. “It also creates a lot of artists who don’t have the true respect of the streets.”

A street-art showplace

The Dequindre Cut, which runs below street level for a little more than a mile, parallel to St. Aubin Street, has become one of the most satisfying spots to see street art in Detroit.

The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, which manages the path, has commissioned a dozen exemplary Detroit artists to do murals on the concrete bridge supports and walls along the way. The varied works include Fel3000ft’s marriage of outer-space imagery and pro-Detroit text; the two-person Hygienic Dress League’s enigmatic figures (one wears a gasmask and holds a bird); and the meticulously rendered, ominous and purple bird-like creature painted by the artist called Malt.

The Conservancy has also left many more examples of illegal graffiti and street art undisturbed alongside the commissioned work.It’s a savvy move, allowing a sense of urban grit to remain part of the experience. Still, context matters. Nothing in the completed part of the Cut — amid the joggers, bicyclists, dog walkers and strollers — captures the raw expression and anxious jolt of coming across the mural of the gunman on the other side of the barricade.

Will the new Detroit allow such a provocative reminder of the city’s troubled history to remain? Marc Pasco, director of communications for the conservancy, said a decision about whether the work would ultimately be removed before the northern extension of the Cut opens would be made on whether the mural was deemed offensive for what he called a “family venue.”

It’s hard to imagine the mural surviving such a threshold, and maybe it shouldn’t even be an issue. Street art by definition is ephemeral. But justified or not, something of value will disappear when that mural gets whitewashed.

Contact Mark Stryker: 313-222-6459. mstryker@freepress.com

Article source: http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/arts/2015/07/18/street-art-detroit-culture-clash/30363471/

City getting skateboard park | Pembroke Daily Observer

The city of Pembroke is getting a permanent skateboard park.

On Tuesday, council unanimously agreed to allow the Barrymore Parking Lot, located on Lake Street east of Albert Street, to be converted into a skateboard park at no cost to the city.

City CAO Terry Lapierre informed the combined committee meeting there has been continuing discussion about establishing a skateboard park for many years. He said a temporary solution was previously established in the Pembroke Memorial Centre’s overflow parking lot, but the wooden ramps and other equipment provided didn’t stand up to use, weather or storage, and needed to be replaced.

Lapierre said the Barrymore lot hasn’t been used in five to seven years and is located in the downtown, making it easily accessible for young people.

The CAO said Jerry Novack, director of The Grind Youth Group, stepped forward and has been instrumental in acquiring equipment for use by area youth, and has actively been developing youth programs. An anonymous donor stepped forward to deposit $100,000 in funding towards the development and equipping of the park, with the money being placed in a trust account. The equipment purchased will be owned by the city.

Lapierre said a volunteer group will be fixing up the lot by removing weeds and sealing cracks in the pavement, and Novack has committed to take care of the park’s equipment, and to volunteer to develop and run the skateboard park related programming at the site, under the auspice of the city’s economic development, recreation and tourism department.

The CAO said this arrangement means the facility and the equipment will fall under the city’s insurance umbrella. Plus, there remains the potential to further expand the park over time if the community at large steps up to help do so.

Coun. Pat Lafreniere, who has championed the cause of bringing a skateboard park to the city’s downtown, said this arrangement is too good of a deal to pass up, and she is backing it 100 per cent.

Novack said this new park will mean the program which was started three years ago will be able to continue and expand in all seasons.

“Besides the Giant Tiger location, we now have an outdoor one for the summer,” he said. The store has allowed an indoor one to operate on their second floor over the winter months.

Novack said the parking lot has been fixed up this weekend, with it being open Wednesday morning for skateboarders, using existing equipment until the new gear can be purchased.

On Saturday, July 25 from noon to 3 p.m., The Grind will be hosting a skateboard competition in the new park.

Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist

stephen.uhler@sunmedia.ca

Article source: http://www.thedailyobserver.ca/2015/07/18/city-getting-skateboard-park

Volunteers are turning unsightly graffiti into inspiring art in Wapato | News … – Yakima Herald

WAPATO — Last month, Khahn Vy Le painted a few butterflies on a badly tagged house in the 800 block of Simcoe Avenue; she found more graffiti on it when she returned recently. But instead of merely painting over the graffiti, she converted it into still more flowers and butterflies.

“Now just respond to it,” she said as she dabbed a brush into paint on a recent summer morning. “Do something prettier from whatever they say and hopefully when they respond with something mean, we’ll say something nice back and the back-and-forth dialogue might cause them to eventually say something nice back instead of something mean.”

Vy Le was participating in Wapato’s annual Painting Pride project, which was spearheaded a few years ago by Sister Mary Ellen Robinson, director of the Marie Rose House, an educational outreach program here.

This year, the project that aims to clear the city of graffiti and inspire youth to take pride in their community was organized by Wapato High School junior Alondra Zaragoza.

Armed with paint brushes, rollers and buckets of paint, Zaragoza and a half-dozen volunteers — some from Seattle University — descended on the vacant, boarded-up house that had become a canvas for area gangs to convey their presence. Their goal is to transform the gang graffiti, and hopefully attitudes, into something more positive.

“Graffiti brings a bad image to the town and a bad message to the kids living here,” Zaragoza said while standing in front of the house. “If they grow up in this environment, they may think graffiti is normal, and it’s not. We want them to take pride in their community.”

Volunteers popped lids off paint cans, dipped their brushes and went to work, using the shapes of the graffiti to form butterflies, flowers, a tree and little houses.

“I feel like this community needs so much help,” said Vy Le, a Seattle University student. “I’ve been here for a week and I saw how beautiful it is and the people’s struggles here and I really want to highlight that.”

Zaragoza headed this year’s segment of the project as part of her bid for Miss Wapato, which will be decided in September. Her effort to combat graffiti ties into a larger movement geared to improve the city’s overall image.

”Once you have a beautiful wall, it brings community pride and it takes effort to maintain,” Zaragoza said of the mural. “Our goal is to have no graffiti in Wapato.”

Wapato has long been seen as a place where drunkards beg for money outside businesses and gangs persistently make their presence known on building walls and alley fences.

But nowadays, a drive through the city tells more than one story. Contrasting with those problems are new developments, an uptick in the local economy and a commitment by community members such as Zaragoza to make a difference.

In recent years, a small strip mall with a new restaurant replaced an old dilapidated house on West First Street. A few blocks away on Third Street, a local investor converted a defunct movie theater downtown into a community hall, and a woman opened a clothing store in the old Red Cross drug store that sat vacant for years. There’s also a new boot shop downtown, and two fruit warehouses are planning expansions that will bring dozens of new jobs.

Taxpayers also have been willing to step up. Wapato School District voters approved a bond that saw the construction of a new $40 million high school.

City Councilman Rick Foss said the renewed efforts to improve the city are refreshing.

“Wapato has had some successes,” he said. “We’re in the middle of resurfacing and rebuilding some roads. Valicoff Fruit is expanding. I salute a lot of people — I see families in town fixing up their homes.”

Zaragoza and her team of volunteers hope their work helps keep the momentum going.

In fact, there’s hope that a positive and meaningful dialogue will begin between those painting graffiti and volunteers transforming it into murals.

Last year, the Painting Pride project turned a graffiti-covered fence in a nearby alley between West Wapato and Simcoe avenues into a mural depicting a neighborhood with children playing. That mural has remained unscathed.

If anything, just showing up to donate time to help improve a community sometimes is enough to inspire others to do the same, said Prince Jadusingh, who recently graduated from Seattle University.

“It makes me feel good,” he said. “I feel like I’m making a contribution to the community and that makes me feel good.”

Inspiring others is the project’s aim, Zaragoza said. “It sends a message that this is our community; we have to take care of this.”

Phil Ferolito can be reached at 509-577-7749 or pferolito@yakimaherald.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/philipferolito.

Article source: http://www.yakimaherald.com/news/volunteers-are-turning-unsightly-graffiti-into-inspiring-art-in-wapato/article_bfe89048-2de2-11e5-89f4-57a471a8d3db.html

Police arrest man, juvenile in connection with gang-related graffiti | KRON4.com

Graffiti-Arrest---generic

SAN BRUNO (BCN) — Police arrested two people Wednesday in connection to a recent series of acts of vandalism that have been happening throughout the city of San Bruno.

Around 5 p.m., police obtained warrants to search three homes in relation a recent rise in gang-related graffiti within the past month, according to police.

Areas of the search included locations in the 400 block of Milton Avenue, the 700 block of Mills Avenue and the 700 block of Masson Avenue, police said.

During the searches, police seized items that supported the allegations of vandalism. As a result, police arrested 21-year-old Ivan Barroso of San Bruno, along with a 14-year-old boy, according to police.

The two were arrested for criminal conspiracy, vandalism and participation in a criminal street gang, police said.

Police are seeking additional suspects in connection with the investigation.

The San Mateo County Gang Task Force assisted police with the service of the warrants, police said.

Anyone with information regarding the incidents is encouraged to call San Bruno police at (650) 616-7100.

Article source: http://kron4.com/2015/07/18/police-arrest-man-juvenile-in-connection-with-gang-related-graffiti/