Toronto Street Art Showcase

Street Art Showcase coming to Toronto

Regardless of one's take on the Rob Ford-led war on graffiti in Toronto, it seems obvious that the crackdown served as a catalyst for members of the aerosol community and City staff to enter into conversation — or perhaps negotiations — regarding the future of of street art in this city. One of the results of this dialogue came in the form of a new graffiti policy, adopted by City Council in mid-July, which its authors believe refines the distinction between vandalism and what can properly be called street art.

Considering the relative youth of the new policy, the jury's still out on how effective it's been in curbing unwanted vandalism and protecting the type of graffiti that many Toronto residents think improves the city's street-scape. There are, however, some signs that there's truth to the stated commitment to endorse and promote so-called good graffiti. The Street Art Showcase is a case in point. Proposed by Stefan Lialias during what might be termed the height of the war on graffiti, the registered non-profit organization promotes street art by projecting massive images of street art onto prominent city buildings.

The product of a partnership between the organization and the City of Toronto, the inaugural event, to be held September 24th, will also involve a public voting process through which winners will be selected to paint authorized murals on city buildings. The website in support of the project might paint an overly optimistic picture of the relationships between street artists, business owners and City staff, but if successful, the event could be an excellent and legal way for artists to show off their work, but also for the City to prove that it's serious about its commitment supporting street art as acceptable and valuable means of self-expression.

What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction for both parties?

To submit work for consideration in the Street Art Showcase, follow this link. Photo by Scott Snider.


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