Lithuanian capital to plant vines on illegal graffiti walls to save cleaning expenses

In Vilnius, the municipality regularly organises the cleaning of walls covered by illegal graffiti at the cost of around 100 000 euros per year. To keep the walls clean the municipality plans to grow vines on over 40 city walls and fences, while a professional artist called for educating the perceived vandals, Lithuanian public broadcaster LRT reports.
Painting unwarranted graffiti is not only harmful to the city’s image but also expensive, according to the Vilnius municipality. Over the last four years, it has spent more than 400,000 euros on covering or cleaning 3,500 illegal graffiti paintings. As true graffiti artists are provided with the necessary space and funding to work in Vilnius, the plan is to cover plain city walls that often attract vandals, the municipality stated.
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«So there is no logical reason to smear the Old Town walls or deface houses and the city’s image. That is a crime,» evaluated Kristinas Taukačikas, adviser to the mayor of Vilnius.
And yet, graffiti is a form of art, according to Lithuanian artist Algirdas Gataveckas. In his words, there are plenty of graffiti enthusiasts in Vilnius, and the municipality should educate them instead of prohibiting their self-expression. Currently, there are six places in Vilnius where graffiti artists can paint from 08:00 to 22:00 without a permit.
The article originally appeared on LRT English: