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Mayor Bowser Launches Great Graffiti Wipeout, Highlights MuralsDC Expansion

Monday, June 12, 2017
Administration Calls On Community Members to Help Identify New Sites for MuralsDC Program

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, as part of Back to Basics DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser kicked off Washington, DC’s second annual “Great Graffiti Wipeout,” an eight-week initiative to remove graffiti and illegal tagging around Washington, DC. The Mayor also announced that the location of the kickoff, a retail space and recording studio near 6th Street and T Street, NW, has been selected as the next MuralsDC site. MuralsDC is a collaborative initiative between the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities that replaces graffiti-ridden walls with original works of art. The Mayor was joined at the event by the Director of the Department of Public Works Christopher Shorter and the Director of the Commission on the Arts and Humanities Arthur Espinoza.

“MuralsDC is a tremendous program, and this year we are excited to not only expand the program and bring one mural to each ward, but to have the community helping us identify future project sites. Residents know their neighborhoods best, and they know which locations are hit hardest by graffiti,” said Mayor Bowser. “Back to Basics DC is about emphasizing how the government can work hand-in-hand with the community to keep Washington, DC a great place to live, and over the next few weeks we will work together to wipe out graffiti in every ward.”

Since 2007, MuralsDC has produced dozens of murals across Washington, DC. The program has been highly effective in ending the cycle of tagging on many walls, which has resulted in significant cost savings for both the District and business owners. This year, the Bowser Administration is asking residents and property owners to help identify future MuralsDC sites by tweeting photos of graffiti-ridden walls to @dcdpw using #NominateMyWall. The MuralsDC program will create at least one mural in each ward, and emphasizes that walls that are highly visible to vehicle and pedestrian traffic, in good condition, and located on commercial property are ideal project sites.

In recognition of the ten-year anniversary of MuralsDC, in fiscal year 2017, the Commission on the Arts and Humanities matched DPW’s $100,000 investment in the program, doubling MuralsDC’s funding to $200,000. Typically, MuralsDC is able to complete five to seven murals per year, but with the increased funding, DPW expects to complete 10 murals in 2017. Later this month, MuralsDC will celebrate the dedication of one of the program’s most well-known projects – the Ben’s Chili Bowl mural.

During last year’s graffiti blitz, DPW crews cleaned more than 700 graffiti markings and removed more than 2,000 posters and stickers from public spaces. Throughout 2016, the District spent more than a quarter of a million dollars fighting graffiti. 

“DPW responds to more than 40,000 requests to remove graffiti and posters each year,” said DPW Director Shorter. “This year, as our abatement team works across the District, we will have a laser focus on those corridors hit the hardest.”

The Great Graffiti Wipeout campaign schedule is as follows:

Week

Ward

June 12

Ward 1

June 19

Ward 4

June 26

Ward 5

July 3 and July 10

Wards 7 and 8

July 17

Ward 6

July 24 and July 31

Wards 2 and 3

For more information about graffiti abatement in the District, visit dpw.dc.gov. Follow Back to Basics DC on social media using #backtobasicsDC.