Scribble Jam 2003 sounded like a fun time, until it came time to clean up.
The event at Cincinnati's Bellvue Park in Clifton and an eastside club last weekend reportedly attracted thousands of people from around the country. It combined the energy of a Hip Hop festival with the visual arts of a graffiti exposition. Unfortunately, several of the scribblers refused to stay within the lines. Although event organizers provided a wall at Annie's on Kellogg Avenue for the graffiti artists to ply their cans of spray paint, some people decided to paint the town instead.
Cincinnati police reported a rash of spray paint vandalism in and around Clifton. Wayward scribblers tagged police cars, buildings and signs, doing thousands of dollars in damage. Four people were arrested while decorating a municipal garage, but it is unlikely they were responsible for all of the damage reported.
The situation wasn't helped by festival organizer Nick Accurso saying that the vandalism was minor compared to the benefits of having 6,000 people come to town for the event. The event's "success" is little consolation to anyone who had to spend all day trying to scrub spray paint off the side of his business.
Creative festivals that attract lots of visitors are good for Cincinnati, and we don't hold Scribble Jam's organizers responsible for every nitwit who decided to leave his mark on the town with a spray can. But in the future it would help if organizers reminded their patrons that while art is in the eye of the beholder, in the eyes of the law spray painting other people's property is a crime.
Wells: Catch of the day