Picasso Project paints over graffiti

Students and cops work together to beautify neighbourhood

graffitiAlleyways full of graffiti behind Gerard Street in Toronto’s East Chinatown are responsible for bringing cops and kids together through Project Picasso.

The project is working with various community resources to paint over graffiti in the neighbourhood.

“This is a great initiative through the Chamber of Commerce East Chinatown, 55 Division and Riverdale Collegiate, so kudos to them,” Ward 30 councillor Paula Fletcher said.

55 Division’s Superintendent Barbara McLean was on site and was all smiles praising Constable Kent Vuong. “He has made me, as the commander of 55 Division, so proud of what he’s been able to achieve in such a small amount of time,” McLean said. “The community wanted to get the wall painted for the last 15 years.”

One of the first steps Constable Vuong took toward starting this project was approaching the Principal of Riverdale Collegiate. He spoke to principal Kenn Harvey, who was happy to oblige and then the school asked for volunteers.

“In about two weeks this whole thing came together because of PC Vuong’s work, and we are just really proud to be involved,” Harvey said.

Despite receiving praises from everyone involved in this project, Vuong remained humble and vouched that the project was possible due to the help of the community. “The community in East Chinatown have been very very helpful, and I would like to thank all of them for giving me this opportunity to do my work,” he said.

Project Picasso goes further than just painting over the graffiti; students and artists collaborated design ideas and painted a mural near a parking lot by the archway at Gerrard and Hamilton. The colourful mural incorporates an array of symbols such as dragons, tigers, and Mandarin characters.