A preventive work of art

[attach]1723[/attach]Police officers have their eyes on taggers due to the area’s mounting graffiti, but one group of teenagers won’t be punished for painting on the walls.

Students from Greenwood College School were commissioned by the city to paint a mural in June Rowlands Park in an effort to prevent bare walls from being covered with graffiti.

“This area has been hit with graffiti tagging over the last few years,” said Brian Yuile, a police officer with 53 division community response unit. “A lot of the area residents have been really concerned about that.”

Yuile says the police have worked tirelessly to keep the area graffiti-free.

If a mural were painted, he says, the vandals wouldn’t paint over it.

“They’ll leave it alone,” he said. “They haven’t touched the other murals in a couple of years.”

Greenwood College School was approached with the idea because the school uses the park regularly, Yuile said.

Grade 11 visual arts teacher Leanne Mladen was on board with the idea right away. She had the students in her class draw a rough sketch of what they would want to see on the mural. The students picked out their favourite sketches and Mladen combined them into one.

[attach]1724[/attach]“My design was completely inspired by flowers because I love flowers,” said Mckenzie Toyne whose sketch was one of three chosen by the class to be put on the mural. “I thought they would look good in the park because there aren’t any growing.”

Other elements of the mural include a moose by Ellen Langille because it is a Canadian icon, she said.

Councillor Michael Walker approved the meadow-like sketch and the painting began on May 17. Throughout the week, students used their class time to complete the wall.

The mural is intended to bring more life to the community and ease residents’ minds about defaced property.

“Area residents are going to love it because they don’t have to look at the graffiti,” said Yuile. “It’ll be a nice mural and be beneficial for the community as a whole.”