Paint Makers Take Fresh Aim at Graffiti
Tired of seeing their products used for blight rather than beauty, coating makers are putting new muscle and a new name behind the fight against graffiti.
The newly rechristened Graffiti Resource Council plans to expand the efforts of its 20-year-old predecessor, the National Council to Prevent Delinquency. The delinquency group was founded in 1994 in response to the City of Chicago's ban on retail sales of spray paint.
The Graffiti Resource Council's primary mission is "to prevent graffiti vandalism and provide creative solutions that promote graffiti-free communities," the organization said in announcing the name change.
The nonprofit Council is a 501(c)(6) organization under the umbrella of the American Coatings Association, which represents paint and coating manufacturers. The Council's work is funded by members of the aerosol coatings industry.
"Throughout its history, the Council has helped develop effective policies and comprehensive programs to deter graffiti vandalism and the crimes associated with it," the ACA said.
Specifically, spray-paint makers have been trying to develop anti-graffiti strategies that do not involve restrictions and bans on product displays and sales.
|Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
The GRC distinguishes between illegal graffiti and street art such as "We the Youth," produced by the Philadelphia Mural Arts program. The Council offers to partner with organizations that promote street art.
(The Council is careful to distinguish between illegal graffiti—unlawful marking of someone else's property without permission—and legitimate street art.)
Rather than lock up products or limit sales, the Council has pursued a program called Responsible Retailing. The program involves educating store employees, "strategic placement of signs," and "prudent display of spray paint."
Through the program, the Council has partnered with retailers to reduce shoplifting of graffiti tools and to stop illegal sales, according to ACA.
Aerosol paint makers say "prudent" store displays and better employee education can help discourage paint shoplifting without having to lock up the product.
The Council takes partial credit for helping to implement Responsible Retailing instead of lock-up ordinances in more than 18 U.S. cities, including Detroit, Baltimore and Sacramento.
The new GRC says it plans to:
“We are excited to carry on the Council’s mission with an expanded portfolio of services for communities, aerosol coatings manufacturers, and retail stores,” said GRC Executive Director Heidi McAuliffe.
“While our focus remains the same, the Graffiti Resource Council will be a high-energy resource for communities to eliminate and prevent graffiti vandalism.”