Toledo considers using tax dollars for wall art - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Toledo considers using tax dollars for wall art

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You have probably seen them driving around town but should you pay for them?

More than a dozen murals are painted on the sides of buildings, in Toledo.

It used to be called graffiti,  but now, some want the city to sanction it and even pay for it.

Drive down Adams Street and you’ll find several murals.

They are eye catching…

Colorful…

Sometimes confusing…

Ron Sims likes them.  He calls them interesting and says they give the city character.

Toledo Councilwoman Lindsay Webb (D) finds this art interesting, as well,  so much so, she’s proposing spending $15,000 taxpayer dollars on this sort of public art.

Webb told 13 abc’s Bill Hormann, “This (art) can help create synergy and revitalization of our neighborhood commercial corridors like Sylvania Avenue and like Summit Street.”

Webb believes businesses will see this art as a sign of vibrancy in an area and encourage them to stay or move in.

And art advocates believe these paintings will help turn around blighted neighborhoods.

Rachel Richardson is the founder of Art Corner of Toledo.  Her group would get the $15,000 from the city and a matching $15,000 from Lucas County to fund this art work.  She believes along with helping neighborhoods economically, murals help keep down vandalism.

She says, “Graffiti artists knowing that the city is investing in public art will encourage them to submit designs to murals rather than tag buildings illegally.”

Along Broadway in South Toledo you will find a lot of murals up and down the street.  They reflect the essence of the neighborhood.  But the question is:  Should taxpayers fund this sort of art?

Taxpayer Sherry Sobczak likes the art, but she believes the city has other priorities, saying, “We need our roads fixed before we have art on the walls, I guess.”

Toledo mayor D. Michael Collins agrees.  He says the Toledo Art Commission will get $323,877 this year from the city.  He believes the mural money should come from that fund.

The mayor says, “We can’t have two independent art programs going on in the City of Toledo.”

But other taxpayers don’t have a problem with Toledo focusing on the arts.

Bonnie McHugh says, “There’s a lot of taxpayer’s monies going out in a lot of different areas why not something to make our city look nice?”

Council was going to consider the $15,000 expenditure at Tuesday’s meeting but that will be postponed for a couple weeks.

Four more mural projects are planned for this summer.