Petition looks to legalize artistic passionWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Artist/promoter Jerry Gray is hoping Lucas County may soon find itself in the midst of an artistic revolution. Gray, co-founder of Quest For Fire Studios with fellow artist Kerry Krow, began passing around a petition to provide designated graffiti space in the Downtown area at the reception to introduce County Commissioner Ben Konop’s Art Assist program on June 22.
“The idea behind this petition is to decriminalize graffiti in Toledo — while reinforcing a cultural urban environment for the Downtown area. Suggested areas on the petition are the Downtown alleyways or other suitable locations,” Gray said.
For a number of local artists and business owners, Gray’s petition may not only seem like a breath of fresh air, but also long overdue and perhaps a little too late. As many may recall, there was a city wide controversy last year involving the painting over of graffiti on privately owned businesses, and whether they should be required to obtain permits from our local government before the creation of such work.
Gray’s proposal would require interested artists to obtain a buskers license from the county, essentially making them street performers who can be regulated by city officials. All of the licensing revenue raised would be used to maintain proper lighting and safety in these designated areas. A buskers license costs around $20 annually.
The goal of the petition is to raise 5,000 signatures of community support. Gray will be taking signatures until Dec. 31. The petition will then be delivered to the Ohio Arts Council, The Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and Konop. Those interested in signing the petition may do so online at www.ipetitions.com/petition/graf419.
“Having these designated areas could attract artists, tourists and locals to Downtown,” Gray said.
Gray added that one way of doing this would be by offering walking and/or trolley tours to go along with other special events in the Downtown area.
Gray has promoted exhibits at Attitudes Salon, the Collingwood Arts Center, Mickey Finn’s Pub, Secor Studios and most recently Diva’s Society Gallery, which hosted the UP party featuring works by local artists currently residing in Italy. He is also a founding member of the band 3 Man Submarine.
Jerry Gray’s Quest For Fire Studios is located in Secor Studios. For information, e-mail Gray at email@example.com.