BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - An urban art project is creating controversy in Buffalo's historic Allentown neighborhood.
A graffiti vandal who is still serving out his punishment is being allowed to take part in a project that uses blank walls as pallets. Some call the project graffiti, but for the artists, the murals adorning the Allentown buildings at College and Allen Streets are their lifes' work.
Johny Chow said, "So many people have come up here, during this process, and said, 'Wow, you guys are so inspiring, I want to go home and start painting right now.' That's what it is about. It is like passing on that love and inspiration."
The project is called Allen Street Street Artists Collective and was founded by long-time arts benefactor Mark Goldman as a tribute to his late brother Tony, a well-known promoter of young artists in New York and Miami.
"We feel there is no greater agent of urban revitalization and renewal than the arts, and we are very happy to make it public, so that people can see it, and respond to it," Goldman said.
But random painting on outside walls can also be considered graffiti, putting a street artist on the wrong side of the law. Richard Whitefield, a tagger known as "BCUZ", is one such vandal.
"Well, it is all about second chances. I can't remember how many chances I've been given," Goldman said. "This is a story of redemption and renewal."
News 4 reported a few weeks ago that Whitefield had done little of his court-ordered community service, but since then he has stepped up. However, he has a long way to go to complete his one thousand hours of community service.
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