Tag Archives: Community Groups

Blank Walls Are Wack

The blue and white garage on the corner of 11th and Sheridan attracts graffiti. Its message, however, is indisputable. Blank walls are wack. In an urban environment they invite mischief. Gang members, taggers, graffiti artists, and anarchists all love blank walls.

Vandals first made the statement, "Blank Walls Are Wack" in June 2010.

The garage at 1402 S. 11th Street is a graffiti magnet. It has been many things over the years, including a car wash, auto security store, used car lot, body shop, and mechanic. When it was an auto security store it was decorated with a colorful graffiti-style mural. When that business closed, garage owners covered the mural with white paint. Now it is a vacant place for the outspoken to color up.

In June 2010, “Blank Walls Are Wack” showed up on the Sheridan side of the garage. Other writing soon followed, including vulgar language and the monikers of local taggers. Toward the end of the summer, owners painted over the mess with a new coat of white.

Recently, the garage attracted the attention of of another vandal who wrote “Blank Walls Are Still Whack.” Shortly afterwards, the Surenos staked claim and anarchists added that “All Cops Are Bastards.”

Recently the wall was again hit by graffiti and left uncovered by garage owners.

This week, after months of being a neighborhood blight, owners of the garage once again covered the graffiti with a new coat of white paint. Neighbors were surprised, as it seemed the problem was going to last forever. The new white wall, no doubt, will again attract vandalism. It’s only a matter of when.

So how do we fix the graffiti problem? Vandals rarely tag murals and the City of Tacoma has a mural program designed to reduce graffiti through community-based art. Currently the Tacoma Murals Project is accepting applications from potential artists. The application deadline is April 25, 2011.

Selected artists will participate in 40 hours of classroom instruction spread over five sessions. They will also collaborate on a training mural in 2011 and have an opportunity to work on a community mural in 2012. This is a wonderful opportunity for budding wall artists.

Check out the City of Tacoma’s Murals Project Call to Artists for more information. Blank walls are wack. Let’s paint them for the art of it.

All over Tacoma, blank walls such as this one beg for murals.


Anarchy on the Hill

The Tacoma Anarchist Network’s latest publication, Anarchy on the Hill, is now available at different spots around Hilltop. We found our copy in a newspaper rack at Speed-E-Mart, located at 1101 S. 19th Street.

Anarchy on the Hill is a recent publication by the Tacoma Anarchist Network.

Anarchy on the Hill begins by giving an introduction that includes the purpose of the publication. It also contains chapters on the roots of anarchy, a brief history of Hilltop, and a study in gentrification. Midway through the publication is a chapter about advertising, propaganda, and the Spectacle. There are also chapters containing commentary on politics in Tacoma, various insurrections around the world, and finally, a chronology of anarchist rebellions in the Northwest from 2007 through 2010.

Anarchy on the Hill provides much information about Hilltop and Tacoma, but fails to cite its sources, leading us to question the credibility of its remarks. For example, the publication asserts that “[Mark Lindquist] chooses the direction his underling prosecutors will go in pursuing charges against specific people. For example, after the killing of four cops by Maurice Clemmons in 2009, the prosecutors office chose to retaliate against people who were the same race as Clemmons. In 2010, it brought conspiracy charges against 36 alleged members of the Hilltop Crips. . . ” Without any citations or evidence to support this claim by the Tacoma Anarchist Network, Anarchy on the Hill gives a sense of twisted logic.

Despite its shortcomings, Anarchy on the Hill is worth taking a look at. It gives an other-than-mainstream view of life is on Tacoma’s Hilltop. It also attempts to explain how we arrived at the community we live in today. Hilltop has seen much change over the years and there isn’t much left that paints a picture of the past besides some old buildings and trees, visual reminders of the way it once was.

A solitary tree at the S. Cushman edge of Hilltop's Ferry Park has seen so much change.

We were very honored to find one of our blog’s photos of S. 12th Street, “Fall Sunset,” in Anarchy on the Hill. It shows progression for us here at hilltoptacoma.com. It tells us that people are finding our blog and photos when they search for information about Hilltop. We would have appreciated a photo credit, but you know how it goes with anarchists–they don’t believe in following all the rules.

You can find more information about the Tacoma Anarchist Network on their website. Many of their events at the M11 Social Space, located at 1212 S. 11th Street, are advertised and open to the public.

Thought We Found a Monkeyshines!

The empty bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade was in a 12th Street hedge.

Welcome Year of the Rabbit

We awoke early this morning to hunt around Hilltop for Monkeyshines’ colorful Year of the Rabbit orbs. We canvassed Martin Luther King Jr. Way, People’s Park, Wright Park, Ferry Park, Sheridan Park, and the area around Tacoma Power’s Hilltop Substation. No luck. We didn’t see any rabbits.

Later in the morning, we walked the streets of Downtown Tacoma and various parks, including Frost Park, Fireman’s Park, and War Memorial Park. Still no sign of the orbs.

Then, as afternoon approached, we searched Jack Hyde Park, Jefferson Park, Point Defiance’s rose garden, pagoda shrine area, and the rhodedendron garden.

Along the way, we found two crack pipes and a heroin spoon. We also found something fun in Hilltop’s Sheridan Park.

One of the park tables has a black and white built-in tile chessboard. Seeing it reminded me of Disney Pixar’s short film Geri’s Game, the story of an old man who plays chess in a park against the most difficult opponent–himself.

Not a chess fan? Enjoy the table anyway. The park is somewhat secluded with its deciduous trees and is a beautiful little place to have a picnic.

Hilltop's Sheridan Park has a fun little table with a built-in chess board.

Are we going to find any of the Monkeyshines orbs this year? I don’t know. We’ve read other’s accounts of the search. Some people found orbs in the same places we looked. With sore feet, we’ll retire our search for now. Meanwhile, we are hoping. . . and eating our carrots.

M11 Propoganda

M11, Tacoma Anarchist's site along 11th, shows films for the public regularly.

The Tacoma Anarchist Network invites community members to nine days of events.