Elkhart Art League allowing graffiti on their walls - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Elkhart Art League allowing graffiti on their walls

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You often see it on passing trains or under bridges. Graffiti isn't hard to find and it's usually not in the places you want to see it. But one Elkhart organization is embracing the artwork, and allowing kids to paint graffiti on their walls.

Michael Sherwood is painting graffiti on the Elkhart Art League building in broad daylight, but he's not worried about the cops showing up. What he's doing is LEGAL. "It's enjoying being able to come out here and just do it freely and not have to worry about getting in trouble."

He says he's impressed by what his peers have already painted. "It's nice artwork, it's not vulgar, it's a good way to do it."

Art League Vice President Ellen Ridenour says they've had issues with graffiti in the past. "The park's department kept coming and painting over it so I thought we might as well embrace it."

Which is why she is now INVITING kids to paint on the walls, calling it "living art." "We just felt like if they had a free place that they could actually do graffiti here and they can actually show their artwork we thought maybe it would stop the graffiti in other parts of Elkhart."

They are only a month into this project, so it's still too early to know if it is stopping graffiti in other areas, but Ridenour says good things are happening. "We're trying to reach out to the kids and get them more interested in art even if it is the kind of art they enjoy."

From day campers to more experienced graffiti artists, she says it's for all ages to enjoy. And Sherwood says he's taking full advantage of it. "It's actually pretty amazing. I wish more buildings could be like this," he says.

Believe it or not, when the project first started, we're told the police kept showing up, thinking kids were doing something wrong. Now everyone is on the same page and the painted building is actually giving the Art League good exposure.

There are a few ground rules. Curse words and gang related symbols are not allowed and will be painted over.

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