The purpose of this fact sheet is to support applications where public art such as murals will be used as a crime prevention tool.
Before commencing your public art project, the following points should be considered:
- Identify the site and try and find as much information as possible about the graffiti problem you are trying to address including why it is happening in that location, how often is the area being vandalised and by who?
- Be clear about the problem you are trying to address and the objectives of your project.
- Is the proposed art alone likely to effectively address the problem, or do you need to include other graffiti prevention strategies in your project, like encouraging more people to use the space, improving lighting or planting trees to make access to the site more difficult?
- Think about how to prevent graffiti in the surrounding area to maximise the impact of your project.
- Identify and obtain any permissions needed from the council or the property owner.
Choosing the right design
Neighbours, local traders and community members likely to be affected by the artwork should be engaged as part of the design process.
What may be acceptable as a design in one community might be very different in another community.
Involving the community in the design of the artwork is a great way to engage them and encourage a sense of ownership of the finished art and the surrounding area. It is important to involve a variety of people to reflect the diversity of your community.
Other important considerations
- Be clear about who is responsible for costs, and who will ensure the artwork is maintained (and for how long) before your project starts.
- Murals can be much more expensive to maintain than a blank wall because the artist may be needed to touch up the artwork after tagging is removed. Ensure the artwork is protected with anti-graffiti coating to make clean-up easier.
- Seek clear timeframes, deliverables and costings from the artist(s) and ensure they understand the level of community consultation and participation that is required in the design and artwork, as well as the approval process for the final design.
- Clearly specify if there are any anti-graffiti education activities expected of the artist(s) as part of the project.
- Produce flyers or pamphlets to distribute to the community and encourage feedback via an email address or surveys. Promote the project via local and social media. Use available networks and community leaders to engage harder-to-reach groups.
- The artwork site should be properly prepared, and any required insurance or permits should be obtained before works begin.
- A comprehensive risk assessment must be undertaken prior to works commencing and appropriate occupational health and safety measures implemented for all participants and passers-by.
- It is important for those directly involved in the development of the public art or mural, and for the community, to celebrate the completed work, as this supports community pride and ownership of the space. Participants, artists, partner organisations, local media and the broader community should be invited to celebrate its completion.