A little more art and a little less graffiti. That's what the city is hoping to accomplish with a project involving murals painted on dumpsters.
"I've been doing murals since 1975 and I have noticed that all the work that I did was not tagged," said Niki Glen, a public artist.
The City displayed five new dumpsters Friday with murals done by local artists including Glen, Johanna Hand, Sasha Lewis, Porter McDonald and Ruben Moreno.
"These containers are going to locations where we've had graffiti issues before," said Andrew H. Quigley, the director of Environmental Services for the City. "It costs us roughly $150 or so just to go out make the repair or bring it back."
The business has to pick up that cost but in the long run, City Councilman Steve Kozachik says this project could save a lot of taxpayer money. He says last year, the city spent more than $1 million abating graffiti.
"We recognize that unless and until we demonstrate to the taxpayers and the businesses that this program works, we're going to be fighting a losing battle year after year," said Kozachik. "We just can't keep spending tax payer dollars to abate graffiti without having another game plan in place."
The city spent $5,000 on this dumpster project and a national non profit called the Graffiti Resource Council threw in another $5,000.
"It's worked in other communities," said Kozachik. "It's not as if we're inventing this and just rolling the dice and hoping it works."
The plan is to expand this project on traffic signal boxes. The City, and ultimately the taxpayer, has to pay for graffiti abatement on those boxes. Kozachik says he hopes private businesses will get on board by adopting the boxes and then paying for murals to be painted on them.
"We don't expect five dumpsters to solve the problem," he said. "What we expect it to do is demonstrate the success of this kind of a project so we can get the private sector buy in to a larger project going forward."
The five painted dumpsters will be located at:
- Chicago Store, 130 E. Congress
- Taco Fish restaurant, 4841 S. 12th Ave.
- Stone Avenue Loft Apartments, 1 E. Navajo Rd.
- Creative Beginnings Daycare Center, 2690 N. 1st Ave.
- Walters Market, 4425 S. 6th Ave.