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2005 06 25
Year of Creativity

On June 13, 2005, Mayor Miller announced that 2006 is Toronto's "Year of Creativity." We can only hope that it doesn't look anything like 2005. Toronto's "Beautiful City" initiative has attempted to ban community postering and enact an anti-graffiti law that is threatening to white-wash some of the best examples of creativity in the city. The new bylaw could force property owners to remove graffiti from the sides or back of their building, regardless of whether or not residents in the community see it as art and don't mind it being on their walls. City staff insist that the graffiti community (some of which is funded by the city) was consulted on the bylaw and that mural art projects will be protected. But organizations in the street art community say they were not asked for input, while property owners have been threatened as recently as last week to remove murals from their back-alleys or be fined.

In addition to lousy legislation, we've also noticed a disturbing trend of police intimidating groups who have gathered in public spaces for artistic or political reasons. Recent arrests at Critical Mass, where hundreds of cyclists take over main streets, and at a drum circle at Trinity Bellwoods park reflect poorly on the city.

If City Council is serious about creativity and art, they should be encouraging grassroots street-level expression, not banning it. Creativity exists on our streets and in our parks, not just in theatres and galleries.
[email this story] Posted by Spacing Magazine on 06/25 at 06:54 PM

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