By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The south wall of the Donevan Recreation Complex could be getting a new paint job in the near future.
Set to go to council at its next meeting on May 23 is a proposal to turn the wall adjacent to the Donevan skatepark into a safe space for graffiti artists, or as the city terms it, an “urban art park.”
The new space is envisioned to become the site of future events, education programs and “will also provide access and opportunities for artists as well as promote inclusion and awareness for urban art,” the city report reads.
For Councillor Rick Kerr, the initiative is great step forward for the city’s arts community.
“This mutual respect and support for all forms of art in our community will do everything towards people productively producing works of art of all types,” he says.
The proposed plan stems from an idea brought forward by Mayor John Henry last year that envisioned turning the back wall of Kinsmen Stadium into a legal graffiti wall. At the time, he said by having a legal space, it would have the net effect of reducing illegal graffiti throughout the city.
However, staff concluded that Kinsmen Stadium would not be a desired location for such a space as there is limited lighting, little room to host events, and the staff have been caring for the ivy that grows along the wall with the intent to have it fully cover the cement in the future.
If approved by council, staff expects to host a launch event for the space this summer. It’s also a possibility this could spawn similar spaces in the city.
“It is contemplated that the program will be monitored and evaluated with the intention of determining other locations within the city for an Urban Art Park or safe graffiti space,” the report reads.
Staff also adds art will only be covered up if it is determined to be gang related, offensive or potential hate crime tags.
The city is also looking to take things a step further with plans to develop a “comprehensive approach to addressing graffiti across the city and explore additional projects that support an overall graffiti management plan.”