What are the Costs of Creating a Mural or Graffiti Piece in Harris County?

This article explores what costs are associated with creating murals or graffiti pieces in Harris County. It looks at programs such as Keep America Beautiful Graffiti Hurts Program, Houston Parks & Recreation Department, Union Pacific Railroad & more.

What are the Costs of Creating a Mural or Graffiti Piece in Harris County?

What do social justice, contemporary art and downtown Houston have in common? It seems logical that these “justice-themed” murals would be in harmony with judicial institutions near Harris County, such as the Criminal Justice Palace, the Civil Courthouse, the Family Law Center and the Harris County Jury Square. The Keep America Beautiful Graffiti Hurts Program provides communities with educational and programming tools to reduce the incidence and severity of graffiti and labeling. The Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) is responsible for investigating vandalism and removing it from METRO facilities, buses, train cars, bus carports, bus canopies, benches, railway platforms and signs. One example of a mural is located in northwestern Houston, overlooking Main Street.

It features a black “Lady of Justice” with a handkerchief that covers her eyes, a sword in her right hand and the balance of justice in her left, ready to impart “just and true justice”. The Houston Parks and Recreation Department eliminates graffiti in the city's 366 parks, primarily through contract with complementary assistance through internal resources. The Department of Neighborhood Inspections and Public Services (IPS), a division of the Department of Neighborhoods, oversees the reduction of graffiti on residential and commercial properties. Union Pacific Railroad recently filed criminal charges against a Houston graffiti artist who allegedly painted over the iconic message BE SOMEONE on the side of a railroad bridge near the city center.

This was done not because the railroad disagreed with the sentiments of recent messages, but because it wants to crack down on graffiti in general. A publication said that the city benefits from the works of art that are exhibited on the railway bridge because they promote tourism and that graffiti raises awareness about local artists and their efforts. The Department of General Services oversees graffiti removal activities on city-owned properties, except for facilities assigned to the Department of Public Works and Engineering and the Houston Department of Parks and Recreation. The East End Management District (GEEMD) maintains a successful graffiti reduction program.

Graffiti removal is carried out by the Greater East End Management District in accordance with an interlocal agreement between the City of Houston and the District. Special Agent Cody Osborne of the Union Pacific Railroad Police Department investigated this matter. Elia credits partnerships with the city of Houston, administrative districts and other organizations for the growth of the Houston wall art scene over the past decade. Created by Victor Ash, a French-Danish artist based in Copenhagen, these murals are inspired by the Harris County Memorial Park, whose objective is to create a space for recognition and discourse around racism and systemic injustice.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office's graffiti removal program is designed to remove graffiti marks from communities in Harris County. The firm also uses murals as a tool to improve communities and helps graffiti artists develop careers as internationally recognized artists.

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