A public art registry meant to save murals on Chicago buildings from overzealous city graffiti-blaster crews is headed to the full City Council.
The Zoning Committee advanced the plan Monday, with North Side Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, saying the proposed notices to be attached to buildings near artwork hopefully will prevent any future misunderstandings.
Hopkins was moved to take action after Streets and Sanitation Department workers in March removed commissioned art by French artist Blek le Rat at the Cards Against Humanity building on the mistaken belief it was unwanted graffiti.
“We mandated that the placard be city-designed, city-provided and three-dimensional,” Hopkins said. “There was some talk it could be a stencil or something painted on the wall. This requires an actual piece of material — yet to be designed — that will be difficult to duplicate or counterfeit. Something that will be affixed to the wall that will really stand out, as opposed to something just painted on there.
“They’re going to notice it and know to leave it alone,” he said.
In addition to the commissioned piece on the Cards for Humanity building getting taken down, in August a taxpayer-funded mural by Chicago-based artist JC Rivera was blasted off the CTA Paulina Brown Line stop by a city crew after someone wrongly reported it as graffiti.
Hopkins has said he hopes the registry will help Chicago gain prominence as a city known for its murals. The ordinance will head to the full council next week.
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