I Need Your Help -
Within a month of my covering the gang graffiti on my back fence with a gorgeous painting of pollinators, native flowers, and a “make a diff” statement to encourage positive action within my neighborhood, my homeowners association slapped me with a stiff fine. It will cost me $30 per month until the painting is covered or taken down. I want to prove that fighting graffiti with beautiful art is an experiment that can work. I love the painting (see above) and want to keep the painting up for three years or until the fence rots, whichever comes first, to see if this experiment will discourage further graffiti.
To do that I need your help. I do not have enough money to pay the monthly fines for three years. Therefore, I am asking for support my fence for $30 per month. That fence support gets you a “Feature Of The Month” blog post as well – I will write about you, your blog, your cause, or your company as long as I deem the subject matter as positive and publish it on my blog. I need your help to sponsor the fence!!
Click here to help support your month of fence using my online store and Paypal –
Three years of support for the fence will total $1,080. Should we receive more than $1,080 worth of fence support, then every penny given thereafter will be donated to a worthy cause. Funds will be split between three non-profit organizations as donations;
1) Immanuel Food Pantry, A local food pantry that needs funds to build a community garden on a church property to feed the hungry,
2) Warrenville In Bloom, an organization focused on beautification and green improvements for the local city,
3) Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo, to help them develop a regional program based on educating the public on pollinator and native wildlife concerns.
About Gang Graffiti In My Neighborhood -
Graffiti in our city is being painted over with neutral paint or sprayed off as required by city policy, but the graffiti is still visible and gangs see that and accept it as their territory mark even if it has been removed (see photo above). Before I painted my own fence I did research to find out what is working to truly discourage graffiti around the country and the answer seems to be art. When the effort is made to put up beautiful or inspiring art instead of simply spraying off or painting over graffiti, then the graffiti artist respects it and leaves that wall alone.
About The Homeowners Association -
The homeowners association (HOA) has told me they are fining me and want the fence down because they feel uncomfortable policing the hundreds of fences in our community by determining what is art and what is not art. My fence causes them difficulty because they must change policy or move outside their comfort zone to manage fence art. They are a small group of well-meaning volunteers that get very little help from the hundreds of homeowners that live in our homeowners association. I do not want the HOA volunteers to be attacked in a negative way related to this fence issue. However, we all want smart, common sense change to happen within our community regarding things like graffiti, environmental efforts, and community upkeep.
About Why I Am Breaking The Rules -
When I hired the amazing local mural artist, Peter Thaddeus, to paint the fence I was unaware that I was breaking the HOA’s rules on fence painting. Mostly because many of the fences in our community are falling down or look very unattractive (see photos above). To be clear — I should have read the rules in great detail before I painted this fence. Without a doubt, I am guilty of breaking these established rules even if I was unaware of them to begin with and the HOA has decided there will not be an exception to the rules for this fence. They want me to paint over the art work with white or neutral color paint.
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Sometimes stepping outside of our comfort zone to do good things is necessary. We need our HOA’s, but we also need common sense in managing our urban lives and working together to make positive change happen within our communities.
The painted pollinator fence was created as a sustainable experiment to see if graffiti can be fought in a common sense and peaceful way that has worked in other cities. I hope you will help me keep the experiment going. Let’s make a diff!