Toronto Youth Cabinet
Property free Community Art Canvas Municipal vandalism Art
Consultations option Public structure Amend by-law members buff prohibited
Toronto Mural support Partnership 485
Respect for the Arts. Representing Torontoâ€™s 400,000 youth at City Hall.
The Toronto Youth Cabinet believes that ‘Respect for the Arts‘ should be demostrated through public policies that recognize its valour: Graffiti is an internationally acclaimed art form that we must support, not criminalize. We need Arts policies that affirm youth-led expression by creating clear avenues for this to occur. After extensive consultations with our community on this issue, the Toronto Youth Cabinet recommends that Toronto City Council: 1) Replace the use of term ‘GRAFFITI’, found throughout Chapter 485 with the term ‘VANDALISM’ and to replace the city’s existing definition of ‘GRAFFITI’ with: ‘VANDALISM’ - One or more unwanted letters, symbols, figures, etchings, scratches, inscriptions, stains or other markings that disfigure or deface a structure or thing, howsoever made or otherwise affixed on the structure or thing, but, for greater certainty, does not include a commissioned art mural. 2) Begin a process, led by the Toronto Arts Council, that allows communities to identify areas in the city that should be designated as an Official Toronto Graffiti Art District.
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Througout our consultations, there was wide support for a policy that recognizes the cultural and communal values of legal graffiti murals. We believe our municipal government should support a property ownerâ€™s desire to either preserve existing art pieces on their property or to comission the creation of an art mural by creating a streamlined process that provides them with a clear option. We reccomend that Toronto City Council: 3) Direct the Municipal Licensing and Standards Division to establish a proactive application process made available to property owners who seek: a) A 90-day waiver of further inspection by city by-law officers, after receing a violation of chapter 485 notice, to allow for a comissioned art mural to be painted over the surface. b) An exemption to chapter 485 to allow an existing art-piece to remain on a wall. c) The designation of a surface on public or private property as a self-regulated Community Art Canvas for artists to freely paint murals that conform to the cityâ€™s Human Rights and Anti-Harassment Policies. www.thetyc.ca page 2 of 3
Lastly, the TYC believes that Toronto City Council should end the debates on Graffiti and Vandalism at community council meetings by: 4) Establishing a committee of Artists, Community Members, City Staff, business owners, B.I.A’s and youth to consider applications from property owners who seek an exemption or the Designation of a surface on their property as a Community Art Canvas. 5) Continuing annual funding for the Graffiti Transformation Program 6) Launching a Graffiti Art Training Program, led by Graffiti artists for Municipal Licensing and Standards Division by-law officers that better equips field staff to distinguish between ‘Graffiti Art’ and ‘Tagging’ to reduce unecessary violation notice issuances. 7) Encouraging the Federal Ministry of Justice to partner with Toronto’s B.I.A’s, Police Service and Municipal Licensing and Standards Division on a Vandalism Clean-up Program: An initiative that allows youth with minor vandalism charges to avoid criminal records by cleaning up vandalism in the City of Toronto.
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