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August 03, 2009 - Image 2

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2009-08-03

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Monday, August 3, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

2 graffiti draws attention

Anti-graffiti
ordinance causes
mixed reactions
By STEPHANIE STEINBERG
Daily News Editor
It's on stop signs, mailboxes and
ATMs. It's on walls, stairwells and
lampposts. Odds are you've seen it
on your way to class or walked by it
and didn't even notice.
It's the word "duck" written in
neat cursive. While some call it
graffiti and others call it art, its
presence - plastered on hundreds
of obscure locations on campus and
throughout Ann Arbor - is difficult
to ignore.
Some students have picked up on
the trend and have posted inquiries
about the artist on blogs. Others,
like University alum Preston Hart,
have taken pictures documenting
the duck tagspots.
Hart first noticed the tags on his
way to class about a year ago.
"From then on, wherever I went
I've been kind of on the lookout for
others," Hart said.
Hart began taking pictures and
posting them on his Flickr account,
which has 89 images of the graffiti
in different places around campus.
Hart estimates he has seen at least
50 more.
"I think that the average person
doesn't really notice it, and that's
one of the things that interests me

about it because (the tags) are so
ubiquitous, especially on Central
Campus," Hart said. "The aver-
age person with classes on Central
Campus probably passes dozens of
them unknowingly."
Diane Brown, Department of
Public Safety spokeswoman, said
University police have had to deal
with other graffiti sightings this
summer, but said she was not aware
of the "duck" tag.
Whether it's an individual or a
group of people drawing the signa-
ture, if caught, Brown said the sub-
ject would be charged based on the
cost of the damages.
"If they use permanent paint
then it comes down to what is the
dollar amount incurred to clean
that up and restore that - whether
it's a building or wall or sign or win-
dow or whatever it is - (we look at)
what dollar amount it would take to
restore it to its original situation,"
Brown said.
Brown said the subject would
also be charged with a misdemean-
or for destruction of property, but
the charge varies based on the dol-
lar value of the property destroyed.
But, if graffiti artists use chalk,
they cannot be fined because chalk
is not permanent.
"If someone drew chalk on the
sidewalk then technically there's
no damage, and that's considered
freedom of speech, and the rain will
wash it away," Brown said.
Newcombe Clark, owner of Blue-
stone Realty Advisors and president

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The 'duck' artist leaves his mark on this East Liberty Street building.

of the Main Street Area Associa-
tion, said he has no knowledge as
to who is producing the duck graf-
fiti, but said it's more important to
remove the work rather than find
its creator.
"What has been found is that the
best deterrent to graffiti isn't doing
all the detective work finding out
exactly who it is," Clark said. "It's
just taking care of the graffiti as
soon as possible so that other graf-
fiti artists don't see graffiti, because
once you see graffiti you know that
you can get away with it, and it kind
of self propagates itself."
In an attempt to eliminate the

graffitiscrawled around AnnArbor,
the Ann Arbor City Council voted
in January to enact an anti-graffiti
ordinance. The ordinance requires
property owners to remove graffiti
from their building within seven
days after notification from the city.
If they don't, the city will remove
the work, and owners will have to
pay the city for the expense.
While the ordinance took effect
in May, Clark said he hasn't wit-
nessed any drastic changes to the
amount of graffiti in downtown
Ann Arbor, adding that residents
have to complain in order for the
See GRAFFITI, Page 3

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