Amazing Mosaic (Mural) on Irving Gets Tagged

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I’ve been getting a number of emails (and a tweet, see photo above) about this disgrace. Sadly, I suspected it was going to happen. This is from the great mosaic on Irving between 11th and 13th that was done by a group of students from the Latin American Youth Center. Hopefully the graffiti can be removed without too much damage to the mural.

One reader sums up the situation perfectly:

“Why must people be such assholes?!”

25 Comment

  • That makes me so incredibly angry.

  • For some reason, and I don’t really know why, it seems that wherever I live there are people determined to keep their own neighborhoods down. It’s a shame. I saw that thing for the first time at Columbia Heights day and really liked it.

  • I had a friend who was an RA in a brand-new dorm on our campus. It was beautiful, state of the art communal living, head and shoulders above any other dorm on campus. The college rented it out to a summer camp, whose residents tagged the walls, deliberately overflowed the toilets, and littered the halls with fast-food wrappers and beer cans. They trashed the place in under two weeks. He was angry, but had a great perspective: This is what their neighborhoods and their homes look like. They’re just making themselves at home. This is how they are comfortable.

    It’s mind-boggling to the rest of us, though.

  • Had a tree planted in the treebox in front of my house last spring (maybe fall), a couple weeks ago someone snapped it in half… I would love to take my weedwacker to the acehole that did it… it’s the same people that throw trash on the sidewalk instead of the trashcan… ignorance.

  • What a shame! It’s important that this graffiti be cleaned up ASAP and immediately again if it recurs. Who can we call, the school, or 311? Also, the nice painted mural in the 1400 block of Irving Street, done by the Latin American Youth Center with the globe has been tagged and not yet restored. Sadly, organizations who sponsor murals also need to budget some time/funds for maintenance of them, otherwise they will be marred by taggers.

  • True. There are two ways to discourage this. The first, and harder way, is to catch taggers in the act and give them a punishment which makes them actually think twice about doing this again — and I think the punishment should fit the crime (and make them realize the impact of what they are doing), cleaning up graffiti and trash for 50 hours for each episode of tagging. The second is for people to IMMEDIATELY call the city and/or remedy themselves any episode of tagging (I’ve found the city to be fairly responsive in terms of cleaning up tags around my building) … the longer tags stay up, the more taggers feel validated by taking the time / risk to do it, but if the tags are always gone within a day or so, they may eventually feel discouraged.

  • Please stop using the term “tagged” and call it what it is – malicious vandalism.

  • the towers at the mcmillan site were tagged recently too.

  • I was at Adams Morgan festival this weekend, and I saw the same thing happened to the awesome White House mural that says: “If you lived here, you’d be home now…but you still couldn’t vote.” Black, ugly graffiti all over it. I don’t know if PoP has already mentioned it, but damn, is it a shame.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    @Benton received a few emails about that one. It’s terrible.

  • Whoever did this is the Kanye West of vandals: doesn’t have the decency to let somebody else have her own artistic space on the wall if it stands in the way of his own self-promotion.

  • It’s young kids. The boys who did this also wrote their names on the sidewalk next to the school in the same paint, in the same terrible scratch, and would guess the culprits are probably around 12 years old.


  • We didn’t do things like that we’re I’m from.

    Where I’m from we DON’T do things like THAT!

  • We didn’t do things like that we’re I’m from.

    Where I’m from we DON’T do things like THAT!

  • …and the city doesn’t really care about graffiti it seems. The school near me, Whittier Elementary, had longstanding graffiti on it when Obama drove through to visit Coolidge HS on inauguration day. No one, and I mean no one, thought that that was a bad thing. I felt rather guilty myself as I had decided not to report that bit of graffiti to see how long it might stay up, as I usually report the graffiti on schools as no one else seems to care. Ghettos are half imposed, and half embraced. This is embracing.

  • The long term residents of this city don’t give a damn about it and that’s the truth. I’ve had more multi-decade residents say that graffitti is nothing compared to the heroin epidemic of 1973 than I care to admit. Things that we think separate us from the low class and no class just don’t seem to bother some residents.

    I find it a little puzzling that people are suggesting that the perpetrators were kids as if:
    1. we didn’t know that
    2. it matters

  • Terrifying to think of how utterly amoral those young brains must be.

    Humans basically reverting to the feral state: that’s what happens when kids have absent, immature, or just plain irresponsible parents. But no one wants to fix *that* problem; easier just to blame the kids, and then warehouse them in jail when they’re old enough.

  • I am the artist who worked on the wall this summer with the LAYC kids and community volunteers, and this is a real low point for all of us who dedicated countless hours into the project. I will come by this week and remove as much of it as possible.

    Thanks for all your support,too, the kids really appreciate all of the nice comments about the mosaic mural. This project has made them believe that they can make a difference in the community they live in.

  • If nothing else, it will drive home to those who actually put their time and effort into constructing the mural how destructive this type of vandalism is. Then for sure they will never do it to someone else and will hopefully spread the word and discourage their friends and acquaintances from doing similar vandalism. Or maybe I’m just an eternal optimist.

  • Arturo, you and the other adults responsible, and especially the kids, deserve nothing but praise for the project. It’s pretty much unanimously been praised as a wonderful work of art. I’m sure if you need help getting rid of the grafitti or any more that surfaces later, plenty of us in the neighborhood would be happy to lend a hand.

  • Yes, thank you Arturo, appreciate your efforts very much so!

  • Huzzah Arturo and the Kids!!

  • Second what voiceofreason said: Arturo, you rock, and if there is any way for the community to help clean this space up / keep it clean, please keep us posted. Your mural is one of the very coolest things in Columbia Heights — I hope it won’t be your last public art project in the area!

  • horrible! paint over as soon as it happens and continue to do that and they’ll leave it alone of course something else will get the tags but…..

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