Calling all artists: Kent contest fights graffitti

Kent city officials have started a search for the next Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell or Pablo Picasso. And their canvas? The smooth concrete curves of a skate park. Actually, any artist will do.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, April 6, 2009 4:28am
  • News
Monica Stewart and Luis Ramos cover up graffiti at West Hill Skate Park with the Kent Kiwanis Club as part of a community pride activity March 21. The city of Kent is sponsoring an art contest to help ward off graffitti at the popular skate park.

Monica Stewart and Luis Ramos cover up graffiti at West Hill Skate Park with the Kent Kiwanis Club as part of a community pride activity March 21. The city of Kent is sponsoring an art contest to help ward off graffitti at the popular skate park.

Kent city officials have started a search for the next Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell or Pablo Picasso.

And their canvas? The smooth concrete curves of a skate park.

Actually, any artist will do.

Artists, who must be Kent residents, are being sought to enter a sketch of their design for the West Hill Skate Park mural competition.

Volunteers will spray paint the winning design on the three skate bowls in an effort to combat vandals who adorn the cement bowls with graffiti. The skate park is at Reith Road and 42nd Avenue South, just across the street from West Fenwick Park.

“The bowls are frequently tagged with graffiti, and park users say that the all-over gray color makes it hard to estimate depth,” said Jeff Watling, city parks director. “We feel the solution to both problems is a colorful mural. We're hoping the winner might also be an in-line skater or a skateboarder, someone who already uses the park. But the judges will ultimately decide.”

Park officials also want residents or artists to apply to be judges. An artist who enters the contest also can be a judge.

For an entry form, call the parks department at 253-856-5110, e-mail Victoria Andrews, parks program coordinator, at vandrews@ci.kent.wa.us or go to www.choosekent.com, click on community calendar and click on West Hill Skate Park mural contest.

Park officials will announce the winning design on May 29. The painting on the skate bowl must be completed by June 30, the date tentatively scheduled for the park's 10th-anniversary party.

“The winner will get bragging rights for a year,” said Andrews, who oversees the contest.

Andrews wants the artists to be creative.

“It's very open,” she said. “Anything that's appropriate for public viewing. Maybe a student wants to paint in high-school colors. It's up to them.”

The costs of the painting project will be covered by an anti-graffitti grant to the Kent Police Department from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

City officials read in parks and recreation journals about other cities that have painted murals on skate bowls in an effort to cut down on graffiti, and they saw the potential for a project in Kent.

“Every skate park has graffiti issues,” Andrews said. “West Hill gets hit hard.”

If the mural works to diminish graffiti at the West Hill Skate Park, the city might run a similar contest for the Kent Lions Skate Park downtown on West Smith Street.

Except for one early incident, taggers have not struck the skate park at Arbor Heights 360 on the East Hill. Andrews said there are no plans for a mural at Arbor Heights.

But Andrews said she can't wait to see what designs artists come up with for the West Hill Skate Park.

“We're hoping it'll be better looking than the tagging and be safer,” she said.

File photo in Pix final

0325_graffiti_cleanup

Kent park officials are running a contest to find an artist to design a mural to cover the three cement bowls at the West Hill Skate Park.

If you enter

What: West Hill Skate Park mural contest

When: April 30 deadline

Entry forms: Go to www.choosekent.com, click on community calendar or call 253-856-5110

Here are the rules:

• Must be a Kent resident to enter or judge. All ages eligible.

• Artists may treat bowls as one area or create a different design for each of the three bowls.

• All submissions will be judged anonymously.

• Designs must be suitable for a public, all-ages setting.

• The mural will remain up for one year or until the next competition.

• Areas tagged with graffiti will be painted over with gray paint.

• Drawing must be on a plain 8 1/2 x 11 inches sheet of paper.

• Drawings will be accepted until April 30.


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