Turning graffiti into artwork

Turning graffiti into artwork (Photo WDTN/Kris Sproles)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It has been a project that brought more than just the Patterson Park neighborhood together.

Several different organizations are now involved in turning unwanted graffiti into artwork.

“With graffiti, many artists don’t want to paint over other artists work. So graffiti artists are very respectful of the work others have done.”

This past year became one frustration as the Jane Newcom park shelter became the target of repeated graffiti.  Now, a fresh coat of paint and a new design could be a turning point.

“It’s so much different. Before you’d come out here and it would be so discouraging,” said Wayne Fischbach, Patterson Park Civic Association.

The neighborhood association called Dayton’s Graffiti Task Force for help.  The task force turned the project over to the Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities art program called Spire Arts.

“They have an opportunity to make art and use it as a tool to enhance their community as well as themselves,” said Ruth Kennedy, Art Coordinator, Montgomery County Board of Developmental Services.

This marks the fourth mural in the city of Dayton for Spire Arts, putting the tools for a brighter future into the hands of those with both physical and mental disabilities.

“For us, it’s not just us completing the mural. It’s about getting other people involved.”

The canvas is 18 by 30 feet. It shows symbols of Dayton history, as well as some designs like a dog that carry meaning to the painters.

The artists love it because it’s their opportunity to share what they are able to do and help the community at the same time.”

The art isn’t the only work going on at the park. Construction crews are replacing the tennis courts thanks to a grant from the City of Dayton.

“The excitement, the beauty of the mural is much more than we ever expected. It’s brought the community together. It brightens up the park,” said Fischbach.

When all the hard work is done, a clear coat of anti-grafitti paint will be put over the design.  That will make any additional graffiti able to be cleaned up quickly without ruining the art.

The group is hoping to finish the project by August 9.

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