Street Art to Enhance Madison Communities
by Simone Rogers, age 18
Madison streets are bland and colorless, but that may no longer be the case if
a proposal by Alderperson Marsha Rummel of the Near East Side is passed. Her
proposal outlines a process to gain the City’s approval to do street art.
art is a certain type of art that is done “in the streets,” which can include
stencil graffiti, sticker art, street installations and painting. If the
proposal is approved, community organizations such as neighborhood
associations, business associations and non-profit groups could submit designs
to the city and apply for a permit to paint a street in their area.
The application to do street design would require
group approval from at least 60 percent of residents, businesses and non
residential properties within a 200 foot radius of the proposed location.
got the idea after learning about “City Repair,” a non profit group in
Portland, Oregon. The group
sponsors a program called “Intersection Repair.” In the program, community
members get together and paint an intersection in their neighborhood to create
a sense of community.
In 2008, City Repair co-founder Mark Lakeman came
to Madison and put on a workshop at the Goodman Community Center. The workshop
included beautifying a bike trail with chalk.
Rummel’s proposal limits the designs to avoid
distracting drivers. Text, numerals, symbols or elements mimicking traffic
control markings would not be included in designs. Paintings will be restricted
to streets and intersections, where speed limits are no more than 25 miles per
hour. Groups must provide maintenance and pay insurance on their projects Arthur Ross, the
city’s pedestrian-bicycle coordinator, told the Wisconsin State Journal that
designs would likely need to be repainted from time to time.
“We don’t look at it [Street art] as traffic
calming. It’s not going to slow or divert traffic. It is, however a community building activity. It gets people
out of their houses and working on something together,” Ross said.
[Source: Wisconsin State