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Hayward mural artists beautify the town

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Hayward mural artists beautify the town

PHOTO BY DANIELLE DEPP/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY DANIELLE DEPP/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY DANIELLE DEPP/THE PIONEER

By Danielle Depp, CONTRIBUTOR

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Ten years ago, the Downtown Hayward “Utility Box Art Project” was implemented in hopes of reducing graffiti.
Graffiti and vandalism are major issues for big cities because they bring down the city’s appearance and property values.
Street art and graffiti have become a recognizable characteristic of many major cities, which includes Hayward. Hayward was affected by massive amounts of graffiti on utility boxes, walls and public property before the development of the Hayward Utility Box Art Project.
Greg Jones, former City Council Manager of Hayward and Stacy Bristow, Deputy Director of Development Services helped implement the Downtown Hayward “Utility Box Art Project” in 2008 with the intention to fight graffiti.
The initiative was originally put in place to clean the city but the project also benefits artists in the community by hiring them to display their art legally.
“The estimated costs of one call out to paint over graffiti was about $150 a box, so we initially paid artists $150. Our focus was in the Hayward Artists, so we hired local Hayward artists for the initial project…not sure how they do it now,” said Bristow.
For the city, the price of $150 per box was worth it because it allowed staff to focus on other tasks.
“The savings was really in staff time so we could reallocate staff towards more rapid graffiti abatement around Hayward,” said Jones.

“Street art and graffiti have become a recognizable characteristic of many major cities, which includes Hayward.”


The city went to great lengths to remove graffiti in a productive, cost-effective manner.
“Tens of thousands of dollars were being spent annually to remove graffiti from throughout the city’s landscape,” according to the All-America City National Civic League Award Application.
In 2009, Hayward city officials decided to create murals in efforts to beautify Hayward.
“Hayward has created 149 murals to-date, and reduced graffiti by over 50 percent with no graffiti on murals in over two years… city officials have provided guidance on starting a mural program to more than 50 other cities,” The All-America City National Civic League Award Application states.
The Hayward Mural Art Program has promoted legal street art to inhabit downtown and city council has worked to help spread it to other cities.

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California State University East Bay
Hayward mural artists beautify the town