Can Art Transform Urban Blight?

  • Paul Rutkovsky Florida State University
Keywords: art for life, garbage art


Over three years ago, I started picking up garbage, including drug paraphernalia, in the alley directly behind my art studio building along Gaines Street in Tallahassee, Florida (see Figure 1). I was tired of the alleys in the neighborhood looking like typical neglected “right of way” public alleys found in most urban areas in the United States. As I continued to pick up debris nearly every day, I became more aware and frustrated that my tax dollars supported a blighted and unfriendly public space. To combat this, I decided to offer a workshop in the alleys through the Art Department at Florida State University, where I am a professor,
for the 2008 spring semester.