By JOE WARMINGTON [Via:www.torontosun.com]
Graffiti art classes for children offered by the City of Toronto, the Sun has learned, are all full for 2008.
How do you like that news flash, folks? But there is always next year.
Sign up early though, because this seems to be a popular program where paid instructors teach our youth how to become good graffiti artists! No word if that pay comes out of the lifeguard budget from any of Toronto’s closed pools.
Just what the city needs. More graffiti. Walk around any neighbourhood and you’ll see what seems to be a few artists already engaged.
You call that art! There’s lots of debate about the outside wall of colourful swirls and unique stylings on a business on Dundas St. W., near Jane St.
As far as the City of Toronto is concerned what looks like graffiti is classified as art in the same city which in the latest Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Fun Guide offers free graffiti classes for kids ages 9 to 15 on the same page as traditional pursuits like ballet, boxersize, yoga and drama.
Your tax dollars at work, since these courses are being taught at the Fairbank Memorial Community Centre or the Ancaster Community Centre. “This is how wacko this city has become,” said Councillor Rob Ford. “I know about this program. It’s unbelievable and embarrassing.”
Meanwhile, decide for yourself about the outer wall of Dynamic Iron Ltd. at 3605 Dundas St. W. by watching a video at torontosun.com.
Neighbours Tara Lawless and Mike DaSilva call it “modern art.” Peter Stepura retorted it’s nothing but gang tagging.
The City of Toronto bylaw enforcement office has actually called it both in a strange series of events for the Mrsic family who have been doing business there for almost 50 years — never once missing a tax payment.
For years, they have been targeted by late night spray painters who have made a nice neighbourhood look seedy and cost the business thousands. “Every day there would be something new painted on there,” said co-owner Mary Mrsic. “We would paint over it but they would do it again.”
Not sure what to do, they came up with a smart solution — if you can’t catch them, hire them. Mary and husband Tom paid their own crew of graffiti artists who painted a permanent graffiti mural on their wall.
“There were eight of them,” said Tom, adding though he doesn’t know what any of the graffiti means, he does know no one has come back to paint over it.
But on March 17, came a City of Toronto notice of violation: “In order to bring this matter into compliance all graffiti is required to be eradicated,” it said, also warning if the scrawls were not off the wall by March 23 the city would paint over it and “apply the costs incurred to your municipal tax bill.”
But there was a way out, highlighted in the very next paragraph.
“If it is your contention that the graffiti should be considered an art mural and exempt from the above requirement, you may request that the issuance of this notice of violation be reviewed by your local community council.”
The Mrsics just followed the rules set out by the city and won the vote of councillors 6-to-5, which means the graffiti can stay and it is now considered art.
They would prefer a more traditional mural but if the taggers will leave alone their building, they are happy with that.
Ford called it crazy: “Instead of getting after these thugs with more police and bylaw officers and cleaning this stuff up, the city has thrown in the towel on the graffiti fight.”
However, perhaps the “artists” doing this will come from the 2008 graduating class of the City of Toronto’s graffiti program.
Tags: Canadian Graffiti