From left to right: Andrea Daley, of Little Italy, Armando Soto, of Osgood Neighbors, David Buckley, Troy Community Service Officer, Sandra Rouse, of Riverside, and Lynn Kopka, president of Washington Park Association. — Photo by Ethan Seeley
TROY — If there’s something strange on your neighborhood wall, who you gonna call? In Troy, you can now call the Graffiti Busters, a group of neighborhood activists who are helping city property owners remove paint-based vandalism.
“If it’s not removed quickly, graffiti vandalism invites more bad behavior in our neighborhoods,” said Lynn Kopka, president of Troy’s Washington Park Association. “Some of these spray paint ‘tags’ and scribbles have been a blight on our buildings for years and it’s time to get rid of them right away, the right way.”
Funded with a $500 Neighborhood Improvement Grant from the Troy City Council, Graffiti Busters is an effort by several neighborhood associations to assist property owners who have been victimized by graffiti vandalism.
So far, community leaders from the Osgood, Little Italy, Riverside and Washington Park neighborhood associations have volunteered to serve the program and organizers say they’re reaching out to representatives from all neighborhoods in the city.
If a property owner is victimized by graffiti vandalism, he or she can request a free evaluation by the Graffiti Busters, who will arrive with a graffiti removal demonstration kit that contains many different products that work on many different surfaces. Once the proper remover and tools are identified, the Graffiti Busters will provide a voucher and direct the property owner to a local store carrying the product. Or the Graffiti Busters will supply the products.
“Not only does this grant pay for the removal products, but our volunteers will save property owners time and frustration by streamlining the whole process to identify which products and tools are needed for each particular job,” said Community Service Officer David Buckley, a Graffiti Busters liaison.
Buckely also said that Graffiti Busters will form mini-task forces in each neighborhood to identify properties in need of graffiti removal and then contact the owners to work with them to solve the problem.
To request a free graffiti evaluation by the Graffiti Busters or to leave a tip, contact David Buckely at (518) 281-6300 or firstname.lastname@example.org
PPG Paints in Latham donated the graffiti removal sample kits, which include a variety of products that will remove different types of unwanted paints and marks from surfaces ranging from bare brick to concrete to more sensitive surfaces.
“This is a great community effort with help from the neighborhood leaders, city council and private businesses,” Buckley said.
Members of the group, some of whom are artists themselves, stress that they are not against graffiti as an art form but they are opposed to graffiti as vandalism.
The Graffiti Busters logo was designed by Troy artist Michael Chrisner and features a white cartoon spray-paint can inside a red “NO” symbol in a nod to the classic Ghostbusters logo which is appearing again in the summer reboot that hit theaters last month.
— Duncan Crary