Mr. Clean SF, Mohammed Nuru, Deputy Director for Operations, DPW
This Sunday I want to personally invite you to join in on the exciting return of our hugely successful Mobile Free Wall Activity. Rain or shine, the San Francisco Arts Commission with support from theÂ Department of Public Works is set to assemble a 40 foot-long temporary wall that will act as a giant canvas for artists of all skill levels to drop by and be a part of creating a beautiful community mural.
Itâ€™ll be on Sunday, October 24th during theÂ Sunday Streets event outside of City Hall on the Civic Center plaza from 10am to 3pm.
What is the Free Wall? Our mission at DPW is to keep this City beautiful, livable, and vibrant. A large portion of my job is the prevention and eradication of graffiti vandalism. DPW responds to over 30,000 requests to clean up graffiti each year. Thatâ€™s over 100 a day on public property alone. Collectively all City departments, schools, residents, and small business owners pay out over $20 million a year cleaning up tagging and vandalism.
This Free Wall is a pilot project to give urban artists, who historically claim that there is no public space to create spray-can art, a safe location to do just that.
Here are the key tenets of this venture:Â
- This is a recognition that it is important to give young artists a place to create
- There should be an emphasis on respect for public property
- The Free Wall project and all of the DPW collaborations with the SFAC stress that the difference between art and vandalism is permission
- Helping to engage the artist community in new ways results in a meaningful dialogue about keeping the City beautiful.
This Free Wall is, if anything, promoting the conversation about â€œwhat is artâ€ and â€œwhat is vandalism?â€ What are the most efficient strategies to eliminate the vandalism and keep the city shinning and clean?
Hundreds participated in the activity in September that resulted in a beautiful community mural being created in less than four hours. World-renowned urban artist,Â Chor Boogie, oversees and facilitates the Free Wall Activities, providing his know-how and tutorials on spray-can art.
The success of the Free Wall program is the result of leveraging the expertise of theÂ Graffiti Advisory Board and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Their passion and leadership are making innovative, engaging projects like this work.
The Director of Cultural Affairs for the San Francisco Arts Commission Luis R. Cancel agrees. â€œThe Free Wall Activity provides urban and aspiring artists with an opportunity to show their talent and creativity in a safe and legal manner. This program is a way of bringing urban artists and community members together to forge lasting, positive relationships that benefit our neighborhoods.â€
The Free Wall capitalizes on the positive results and feedback from other SFAC-DPW collaborations like the StreetSmARTs program, which pairs urban artists with private property owners to create vibrant murals throughout the City. The first private-property mural of this fiscal year was unveiled last week atÂ 1354 York Street. There are plans to create more than 20 murals through this program this year.
There is a lot of work to do to keep the City clean and to prevent and abate graffiti vandalism. I invite you to be a part of it of this movement. Come out on Sunday and see what the buzz is all about.
At a minimum, please check out and sign the Zero Graffiti Pledge, a City-wide commitment to abate and report graffiti.
I would love to get your feedback about the Free Wall. Send comments toÂ firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can tweet me with any questions @MrCleanSF<http://twitter.com/mrcleansf>.
Mohammed Nuru is Deputy Director for Operations at the San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW).