Posted in: Germantown, Louisville Information, Louisville Neighborhoods, Louisville Real Estate, St Joseph's, Author: Younger Group (August 13, 2011)
Louisville loves art, but local businesses near intersection of Brandeis Avenue and Bradley Street did not like the graffiti that kept popping up on the wall that separates the St. Joseph neighborhood from Germantown. For the past 2 ½ years, the wall has served as a community graffiti target, but vandals often obscured the art with spray painted initials. Businessmen felt that the old wall gave off a bad message to shoppers and to the many older residents of St. Joseph who wanted to feel safe in their homes. They wanted a new image.
The St. Joseph’s neighborhood is also home to many University of Louisville students. Meanwhile, Germantown, with similar ethnicity and architecture, currently attracts a trendy young professional crowd of people who want to be near downtown and the Highlands.
The St. Joseph’s Area Association came up with a creative solution to distinguish and unify the neighborhood and show off a new image: a mural produced by artist Marjie Ryan. Ryan created a multi-colored quilt with numerous patches to promote unity. She was paid with a stipend of $2,000 from Metro Councilman Jim King, a life-long St. Joseph resident.
“I took an old comforter idea to symbolize the coming together of different personalities,” Ryan said. “Each of the squares represents a unique personality and this is a utopian view of how people can live side by side.” By joining forces between the older and newer residents, the community will be stronger than if groups are fragmented, she said.
Whether this beautiful mural will deter graffiti is yet unknown. Louisville has had an ongoing problem with unauthorized graffiti. For a time, there was a ”legal” place to post it along I-64, but vandals “tagged” the wall with so many obscenities, that the city again made graffiti illegal and even tried to apss an ordinance prohibiting the sale of spray paint to minors.
Police say that not only does the so-called “art”” deface public property, but puts the artist in a precarious and dangerous position when creating it. Drivers may miss needed road information.
Cleanup is very costly. In 2009, Metro parks officials estimated between $85,000 and $100,000 are spent each year cleaning up vandalism in parks alone. (Extreme Park is particular target for graffiti.) The City of Louisville has trouble keeping ahead of the street artists, but business owners are expected to clean up graffiti within seven days.
Hopefully, what’s behind the St. Joseph’s mural will deter graffiti artists. For now however, the mural in St. Joseph’s is a beautiful addition to the neighborhood with an important message.