UPDATE: Elkhart Art League to continue graffiti program despite vandalism

Elkhart, Ind. The Elkhart Art League opened up their building for graffiti artists to display their work, but parts of the property continue to be vandalized.
Still, the members plan to keep the graffiti program going.

“I have been in touch with Mayor Moore and he has been talking to police,” said Ellen Ridenour, vice president of the Elkhart Art League.

“We have all decided that the graffiti will stay on the building as long as we monitor it.”

The league opened up the exterior walls of its building at High Dive Park to graffiti artists. Still, vandals have spray painted graffiti on the sidewalks, roof and even trash cans.

The work reportedly happened over the weekend, and a report was filed Monday with police. Officials say their concern is with the damage to the roof. The artists were told to keep their work off of it.

“One of the kids knocked over our chimney,” Ridenour said.

According to Rineour, vandalism has been an ongoing problem at the park. The league’s hope is that providing a place for graffiti will get people to express themselves without causing damage to any buildings across the city.

“I hope in the long-run people will look at it differently and try to understand what we are doing here,” Ridenour said.

But, some refuse to see graffiti as art. A Facebook group called “Elkhart Apathy” has popped up and members voice their dislike for this project.

Art league teachers, though, have notice that the project is attracting new people to get involved in the arts.

“There have been a lot of people, adults, that come by and say they didn’t even know this place existed until they saw this,” said Shana Dines, an art teacher at the Elkhart Art League.

Ridenour said Elkhart Art League members plan to work with police to learn how to recognize gang-related graffiti and make sure their building is free of that.

They are also working to get more surveillance on the building to deter people from doing graffiti in areas where it is not allowed.

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