The call to artists and youth is now closed and the process of organizing a jury is underway.
In just a few weeks, the names will be announced of who gets to paint 10 colourful murals at “graffiti hot spots” throughout the city as part of the Create Community Colour Mural program.
“We’re happy with the amount of submissions we received. I think we have some real talent both from the artist and the youth standpoint,” said Gary Pemberton, downtown programs liaison with the City of Victoria.
Announced in September, the program matches professional artists with youth interested in public art, who will then create murals in six locations throughout Victoria and surrounding neighbourhoods.
It’s a form of trying to prevent some of the tagging caused by graffiti vandals, noted Pemberton, but also gives youth interested in street art an opportunity to work with a professional artist to do some beautification.
“It’s hard for a young artist to engage in this type of thing. An outdoor, public space like this is hard to come by,” he said, adding Esquimalt’s Trackside Art Gallery used to provide a space for youth to showcase their art, but closed down several years ago.
“We’re hoping that we meet that kind of goal of enabling young people to get a chance to be mentored and learn a new skill along the way.”
Graffiti has been an ongoing problem in Victoria for a number of years. About 10 to 15 active vandals, ranging in age from 12 to 40, create the bulk of the vandalism, tagging all types of infrastructure from power poles and mailboxes to walls and etching glass.
Every week, the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) removes an average of 100 tags that come in all shapes and sizes within their downtown boundaries. Now that it’s the rainy season, however, Pemberton said the graffiti has slowed down.
Police said murals throughout the region seldom get marked or tagged by vandals. The locations chosen by city staff for the project include 835 Fisgard St., 506 Fort St., 603 Pandora Ave., 1550 Kings Rd,. 1211 Gladstone Ave., and 930 to 932 Pandora Avenue.
A jury, consisting of artists in the community and representatives from United Way Greater Victoria, the Victoria Youth Council, police and city staff, will meet this month to review the applications. The jury will select the artist first then match youth to each mural location/project.
Those who are selected to paint will be announced Dec. 4. The murals will be completed by the end of June with a celebratory event in July.