Council's street art and graffiti management includes a graffiti removal, a hotspots program and a range of creative and innovative programs. Council has trialled a number of alternative solutions to graffiti and continues to run a range of programs, including:
Live to Create was initiated to engage and empower young people from the Marrickville area to build knowledge and confidence to create legal artworks in public place. This included educational workshops and hands-on opportunities. Live to Create was funded by the Australian Government.
An evaluation report informing the future direction of Council's street art programs was commissioned as part of the Live to Create. Read the evaluation report here.
The workshops covered the rights of property owners, crime prevention and reporting, including rapid removal of graffiti, demonstrations on how to remove graffiti from various surfaces, green screening properties and commissioning an artist to paint a mural. All workshop participants received a free Graffiti Proofing Kit.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design uses techniques such as art works, gym equipment and lighting in public places to prevent crime and unwanted graffiti. Council installed a number of CPTED measures, including gym equipment in Camperdown Park and an art work by Joe Hurst at a Sydenham wall (see below). Five CPTED artworks were funded by the Australian Government 2013–2014.
Perfect Match invites local property owners to find their Perfect Match by registering interest to have graffitied walls transformed by artists. Council then plays Cupid, matching property owners with renowned street artists to transform public walls into spectacular artworks. Visit the Perfect Match page to find out more.
In NSW, all graffiti on public or private property, unless the property owner has given permission, is a criminal offence. This also includes pictorial and street artworks. It is against NSW law for a person under 18 to be in possession of a spray paint can in public places.
Property owners and artists can make private arrangements to paint property walls. Painting artworks on property walls can add colour and inspiration to a building and can also deter illegal graffiti and tagging. Artists need to have written permission from the property owner to carry out any work in accordance with NSW law. Property owners have responsibility for ensuring heritage laws are not infringed by commissioning art on their walls.
To find suitable artists, property owners can find information online or check any street artworks they have seen for a signature on the work, and then track the artist down online. Most artists will require fees to paint a wall, Council recommends paying artists for their work. Fees should be negotiated between the property owner and the artist.
It is also advised property owners consult with neighbours about the painting they are planning to do and give neighbours warning about the dates and times painting will occur.
Residents interested in having a painting installed on their wall can also apply for the Perfect Match program, described above.
Marrickville Council administers a legal graffiti wall in HJ Mahoney Reserve, Marrickville. Terms and conditions for the use of this site can be downloaded below. Bookings for the wall must be completed here, as detailed in the terms and conditions.
Marrickville Council is currently investigating the establishment of other legal walls in the Marrickville local government area.
In 2005, Tugi Balog, Director of the May Lane Arts Association Inc, turned the walls of his business in May Lane St Peters into an outdoor gallery, featuring works by Australian and international street artists. Artists were commissioned to paint removable canvases that were installed outside the Graphic Art Mount property. Over time, May Lane developed a reputation for street art and graffiti. In addition to the curated panels, the rest of May Lane and Caroline Lane attracted mural artists and taggers. Some murals were done with the approval of property owners backing onto the lanes; others were illegal.
In 2010, the community raised concerns about graffiti and related issues in May Lane. Council has been working with the community to resolve these issues since this time. May Lane is not a "free" or legal painting area. Painting, graffiti or marking any walls in the May or Caroline Lane area without written permission is prohibited and offenders can be prosecuted.
During 2013 Art Month Sydney, Marrickville Council held a street art forum. The forum, Coming in from the cold and into the fold, looked at Council's changing role in regard to street art, as well as future directions and policies Council could adopt in dealing with street art.
The panellists were Josephine Bennett, Manager Culture and Recreation at Marrickville Council, Dr Cameron McAuliffe, Human Geography and Urban Studies, University of Western Sydney, Juilee Pryor, Unmitigated Audacity Productions and Tom McDonald, Links to Learning Senior Project Officer at Marrickville Youth Resource Centre (MYRC).