Murals without vandalism. How do they do that?

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Wandering around Pittsburgh I came upon this fabulous mural depicting cherry blossoms in bloom and a charming collection of old homes.  It was off the beaten track, enlivening not a park but the parking lot for a neighborhood restaurant.

How does something so wonderful get done, anyway?  By an organization called the Sprout Fund, with money from some local sources, and with lots of hard work by a few earnest believers in public art, I’ll bet.

Well, I’m a believer, too, and I’ve been asking all over town about the possibility of having murals in a few ugly but prominent spots in the heart of town. Literally everyone I’ve asked about it – except one artist – dismissed the idea as impractical because, as we all know, they’d just be vandalized.

So, Pittsburgh can have murals but my small town in Maryland can’t?  Washington, D.C. has murals all over town, but we can’t?

You see how my rant goes.  But that one artist who didn’t dismiss the idea LOVES it and has, with her experienced fund-raiser of a husband, volunteered to take it on as a project.  So maybe a year from now I’ll have something lovely like this to show off from my very own neighborhood.

Readers, do you know of murals in your town that have been spared by vandals?  Do tell us how it was done.

Posted by

Susan Harris
on September 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm, in the category But is it Art?.


  1. skr 23 July, 2017 at 05:55

    Engaging the local youth is a good way to get hidden gang signs in the mural. Gang tags have evolved to be illegible to most people while being perfectly clear to bangers. Also, only members of the local gang will respect the mural. Rival gangs will attempt to tag it.

  2. Gail 26 July, 2017 at 12:06

    It’s not murals, but the city of Fort Collins, Colorado has been sponsoring artists to decorate utility boxes all over town. There are the hamsters on the wheel by the gyn, the bees, the dots, the flowers and the animals of all kinds. This is the link to map of the boxes and people really do have their favorites. And it really has cut down on vandalism and grafitti. It is a part of the Art in Public Places Program. Maybe a small start to something bigger?

  3. skr 28 July, 2017 at 00:26

    I have a few friends that are graffiti artists. Every single one of them would be upset at being referred to as taggers, even ‘real taggers’. There are ‘Graf artists’ and there are ‘taggers’. Taggers are the little D-bags that scribble their names on everything. Oftentimes this activity is associated with gangs and the claiming of territory. The only murals they respect are those done by members of their own gang. Everything else is fair game. Graf artists on the other hand make art and won’t deface a mural, period.

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