Youth identified more art as one of their goals in a meeting at the Youth Action Network some time ago. Now, a graffiti wall may come about as a result. File photo

Rossland youth tags a graffiti wall as a worthy project for council support

Keegan Taylor says a legal graffiti wall would give a place for local street artists to create public work

A Rossland youth thinks local street artists need a place to display their work.

So he’s asked city council to approve a plan for a graffiti wall near the Youth Action Network building on Washington.

“Our Grade 9 class went to Nelson on a class trip, and we toured around Nelson to look at the murals,” says Taylor. “And I just thought it would be good to have something like that in Rossland.”

The Rossland Youth Action Network put out a survey in October 2018, asking students how they would like to see the area surrounding the skate park improved.

“The answer ‘art’ came up on numerous occasions,” Taylor wrote in a letter to council. “Even now multiple people have wanted this to happen when asked.

“It’s clear this is something that youth in Rossland want because many students and adults in our community have expressed intense interest in a legal graffiti wall like this.”

The group would use the exterior walls of the city-owned storage building located adjacent to the YAN building.

Taylor says a “free-to-use graffiti wall” would give Rosslanders of all ages a place where they can legally practice their craft as others can around Canada. His letter notes that 28 cities around Canada have registered and legal graffiti walls to promote community art, including six in B.C. — but all are in Vancouver.

“Fancy an over-seven-hour drive to get some street art done? No thanks!” he wrote to council. “For these reasons, I think we should make Rossland the 29th active free-to-use graffiti wall.”

The community would benefit from having such wall, Taylor argues.

There could be “[s]chool projects and trips for learning about different types of art, possible YAN programs/contests,” he says. “Free ‘gallery’ art walks, making the area around YAN and the skatepark more beautiful and inviting for … people as artists, dreamers, athletes, tourists and people who just want to make the world a bit more awesome every day.”

Taylor asked for between $250 to $400 out of the recreation budget to pay for paints and other supplies.

While not opposed to the concept, city staff did have suggestions for the project, including only using a short stepladder for adding designs, using masks while spray-painting, locking up the paints at YAN when not in use, and Taylor and his group be responsible for cleaning up any objectionable graffiti.

Finally, YAN should be aware that “the storage building is within a space identified for future planning projects and may be removed or changed as part of future planning.”

Still, Taylor is hopeful he can get the free paint wall started by the spring.

Council was due to vote on the issue on Monday.

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