Red Wing May Ban Painting on Area Bluff
RED WING (AP) — Eastern Minnesota officials are considering changing a policy regarding a decades-long tradition of painting graffiti on a bluff.
Red Wing City Council is considering adding a referendum question to the November ballot that would ask citizens about a ban on painting on Barn Bluff.
Under the current policy, city officials only evaluate graffiti if they receive a complaint. Pieces that are lewd, political, racist or offensive are painted over.
Police are concerned the current policy makes the city's graffiti laws regarding public places uneven, said Brian Peterson, former city planning director who now heads special projects for the city. There are also safety concerns for the graffiti artists and city employees sent to paint over the art, he said.
The city surveyed residents about the graffiti in 2017, Peterson said. Almost half of the 400 respondents said painting on the bluff should never be allowed. Eighteen percent said there should be some restrictions, 23 percent wanted no restrictions and 10 percent had no opinion.
Council Member Dan Munson expressed concerns about how the graffiti ban would be enforced.
There are two options for enforcing the ban, Peterson said. One option would be to create a new space where artists could paint, while the other option would be to continue painting over any graffiti that appears.
"When you see (graffiti), you've got to remove it immediately," Peterson said. "If you keep at that, the idea is it reduces and eliminates itself."
The bluff was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. The bluff is the site of many burial mounds and is sacred to the Dakota people.