Graffiti Busters Clean Up Utica

By Julia Rose

Published 06/19 2014 07:43PM

Updated 06/19 2014 07:47PM

It can be seen all over.  Some call it art but others say it's nothing but an eyesore.  We’re talking about graffiti and over 100 volunteers came out to paint over some of the city's most vandalized areas on Thursday for United Way’s “Day of Action.”


"What we're doing today just cleans it up and makes it a lot cleaner, a lot better place for the City of Utica,” says Shaun Brennan, a volunteer.

"We appreciate our community, we love it and we're willing to recreate it and make things better again,” said volunteer Selden Przelomiec.


Over 125 volunteers came out armed with paint brushes and rollers to cover up graffiti sites.  Event organizers say the focus on graffiti was a result of a public survey.


"The Home Ownership Center commissioned a study on the quality of life in Utica expecting to find that maybe litter was the problem like many other cities find and they were surprised to find that people were most visually disturbed by graffiti not litter,” said Brenda Episcopo, CEO and Executive Director of the United Way.

Some say graffiti can be a form of art but ultimately, it's not welcomed in Utica.


"I have two sides on this I mean, the artwork is kind of cool to see but at the same time you're vandalizing city property,” said Arica Tehan, volunteer Graffiti Buster.

"We’ve been seeing more of it and it's plastered on the biggest buildings in Utica and it's what stands out the most,” says Natasha Pearson, volunteer Graffiti Buster.

Volunteers say all of the places they painted today really needed a fix up but perhaps the worst of them all was the Old Burrstone Road underpass it was an eyesore that was once home to a nasty message.

"It’s highly visible along the arterial and the message wasn't exactly what we wanted people going through our area to see it said 'welcome to hell,” said Gene Allen, Marketing Director of the City.

"Just the profanity and the language, there's going to be young kids coming around, it's very important to cover it all up,” said Tehan.

Volunteers worked on 75 different City sites.

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