Street Art Contest set during Cruise Saturday

SALEM – Visitors to the Salem Super Cruise this Saturday will have the chance to watch street artists transform their creative visions to sheets of plywood during a Street Art Contest at Second and Lundy.

Downtown building owners Scott and Lisa Cahill, who recently commissioned some graffiti artists for some work in the downtown Salem area, are hosting the contest which is planned from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of their building on the corner of East Second Street and North Lundy Avenue.

Scott Cahill spoke to city council about the Street Art Contest Tuesday night, explaining how some young people agreed to police others, remove graffiti they see and persuade others not to put graffiti on buildings. As part of the deal, the street art competition will give them an outlet to show people what they can do.

“Come out and watch these wonderful artists at work,” he said.

He said the abatement of the graffiti in the city has been working, thanks to the involvement of the young people. He offered thanks to several people who have been working on the graffiti problem, including Jock Buta, city council members Cyndi Baronzzi Dickey, Rick Drummond and Clyde Brown and Mayor John Berlin.

Drummond, Dickey and Brown helped oversee the formation of an anti-graffiti group which planned a clean-up day in April to help remove graffiti from buildings and come up with ideas for an anti-graffiti campaign.

According to information provided by Lisa Cahill, each artist participating in the contest will be given a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of plywood, painted white, to create their art. They can begin at 10 a.m. and all painting will stop at 6 p.m., to be followed by the judging and presentation of trophies and prizes for first, second and third places.

A maximum of ten artists can participate and at this time, eight are confirmed. The public is invited to watch the artists paint throughout the day, and to cheer on their favorite in the judging.

Once the prizes are awarded, the art will be auctioned off. Anyone who cannot accommodate such a large work of art can have a piece photographed and reproduced in a smaller size. Proceeds from the art work auction will go to the individual artists.

In an email, she explained how the contest was the “outome of the efforts to stop the graffiti about town. In exchange for having this contest, giving them some commissioned murals, and generally legitimizing their art, the area graffiti artists agreed to “self-police,” and keep illicit tagging and graffiti off area buildings, or clean it up if it occurs. They have kept their end of the bargain very successfully, and no new graffiti has been reported since before the Clean Up Day, April 20, when they helped to scrub graffiti off buildings. This contest is our end of the bargain.”

Cash prizes of $250, $150 and $100 will be awarded to first, second and third place.

For information about the contest, send an email to

Mary Ann Greier can be reached at