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Art vs art: $1 million worth of murals coming to Seattle walls

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The city of Seattle aims to use art to combat graffiti, and is putting $1.13 million toward the effort.

The city's Office of Arts and Culture announced grants to local artists this week, who will be charged with producing an array of new murals throughout downtown. The work will begin in October and continue into 2024.

RELATED: How an invisible Seattle neighborhood is making itself known, one mural at a time

Gülgün Kayim, the interim director of the arts and culture office, said in a statement that the artwork should resonate "with the diverse voices that make Seattle truly unique.”

“Seattle’s arts community is the heart of our economy and cultural identity. By supporting the creative sector through a diverse range of grants, we not only empower our artists to thrive but also to enrich our communities,” Kayim said.

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The funding is not only aimed at spurring more public art. It is also part of the city's campaign against graffiti, aka the Many Hands Art Initiative. The idea is to use the public art to "mitigate and prevent" graffiti. Earlier this year, Mayor Bruce Harrell's office reported that graffiti was up 50% in Seattle since 2019. The mayor's office has also implemented a Graffiti Abatement Program and has handed out graffiti cleanup kits to local residents.

RELATED: Artists call Seattle's plan to tackle unwanted graffiti 'ethically tricky'

The new grant money will be distributed to more than 75 artists, as well as local organizations. The bulk of the funding — $700,000 — is going to Hope Corps and its Downtown Seattle Mural Project. This will fund nearly 40 murals slated for SoDo through Belltown.

There will also be temporary murals popping up at public restrooms at 18 Seattle city parks.

“There can be no art without artists and creative workers — that’s why our administration is advancing programs like Hope Corps that invest in creatives and arts organizations, delivering needed artistic programming throughout Seattle,” Mayor Harrell said in a statement. “More public art means a more vibrant, welcoming city for all, and I’m excited to see how these local artists further enhance our city’s beauty and showcase its creativity.”

caption: Grant funding provided by Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture to produce public murals throughout downtown.
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1 of 2 Grant funding provided by Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture to produce public murals throughout downtown.
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