Scattered around the City of Vancouver are hundreds of murals. They stand on both public and private property. Some are highly visible while others exist in lonely back alleys. And while many of these paintings are illegal acts of graffiti, just as many are sanctioned by city hall.
Vancouver's legal murals are mostly created by local artists who support their projects with funding from a variety of organizations.
From 2003 to the end of 2009, the City of Vancouver funded the creation of some 240 such paintings through the park board’s graffiti-management program. Similar initiatives continue today such as the provincially funded Great Beginnings program. Independent business owners have always had the option of paying artists for murals on their property. And since 2004, a restorative justice program called Restart has helped at-risk youth find money and guidance to create legal public art around Vancouver.
A city Web site notes: "Murals are an effective graffiti deterrent."
Here is a sampling of such public art. And be sure to check out the Georgia Straight's cover story for May 20: Vancouver graffiti gone wild.