Graffiti project will continue despite negative feedback - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Graffiti project will continue despite negative feedback

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The Elkhart Art League is continuing to encourage artists to graffiti on their building, even though they have received negative feedback for the project.

Elkhart Art League Vice President Ellen Ridenour says they embrace all art, even if it's a style of art many people wouldn't approve of. That's why she wants to continue letting the Elkhart community graffiti their walls. "I think it's sort of cool."

But not everyone agrees, a new Facebook page called Elkhart Apathy  is drawing attention to the graffiti, encouraging followers to "Show us the blight in your neighborhoods!" 

The administrators wouldn't go on camera, or give their names. But they tell me on Facebook "We can see the original intent was positive, however a little short sighted. Assuming the negative would not come was nieve (sic)."

"Maybe they don't understand what we're really trying to do with this project and that is to get younger people involved with art," says Ridenour.

She says the graffiti is drawing attention to the building and to the issues they've always had. "Because of the graffiti on the walls, people think it's encouraging more vandalism here and it really hasn't."

Over the weekend a chimney was destroyed and some are painting the roof and sidewalks which isn't allowed, but Ridenour says they had similar problems long before they permitted the graffiti. "I haven't seen anymore than what was normal before."

Which is why she doesn't want these incidents to ruin the project for everyone, neither does art teacher and board member Shana Dines. "Art is so important for kids, for adults, it's self expression and therapeutic."

She says the graffiti is bringing publicity to the Art League, which means more people in her classes. "We've had people stop by and say, I didn't even know this was here, this is really cool."

The Elkhart Art League is working with the Parks Department and Police Department to make sure kids are following the rules. Police say they've seen some gang related symbols and they're looking into offering education to the league on how to spot those.

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