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Youth event team defends lessons in graffiti skills
NORTON councillors have expressed concern over a youth event in the town.
Ryefest, which was held at Brooklyn youth centre in Langton Road, included a number of art and craft activities as well as live bands and entertainment.
A donation towards the event, which is run by North Yorkshire County Council’s children and young people’s service, was requested from the town council.
But Coun David Lloyd-Williams said he could not understand why Norton was the only town council to be asked to donate funds towards the event.
“The county council has a £200 million budget and it is of more and more concern to me that they should be asking for money from a small parish council and not from any other council in Ryedale,” he added.
“Other town councils should have been written to as people came to the event from all over Ryedale.”
At last month’s meeting, councillors agreed to contribute £150 towards the event, but Coun Lloyd-Williams expressed concern then that youngsters were being taught graffiti skills as part of the event.
“Pickering had a lot of problems with graffiti and the district council had to buy a special machine to remove it, so it is an issue,” he said.
“I would make the point that one authority is teaching something which another authority may have to fork out money to remove.”
Deputy mayor Coun Di Keal said she had been to the event which was attended by about 200 young people.
“The was plenty going on during the day including live music, demonstrations and activities,” she said. “It was nice to see something like that in Norton and at Brooklyn, which is not often used at weekends.”
Coun Keal said youngsters were given the ‘hard word’ on where it was appropriate to use graffiti: on special art boards and not around town.
They had also created a piece of graffiti art for Norton Town Council.
“These events are well-attended and a good opportunity for young people to do something different and I feel we should be supporting more activities for them,” she said.
Coun Jonathan Gray said he felt a donation was appropriate.
“It is providing something different for youngsters and is something happening in the town for them which doesn’t happen very often, so I feel we should make a contribution,” he said.
Councillors agreed to defer making a payment until they had further details about the funding of the event.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “Graffiti art workshops take place at festivals and youth settings throughout the year and are one of the most popular activities with young people. The highly-skilled artists employed by the county council explain in great depth why graffiti in undesignated areas is illegal, anti-social and destructive, while acknowledging the fact that the art form is part of youth culture and has its place in a supervised and controlled environment.
“They teach the young people to respect the artform and themselves by using protective clothing and eye wear. The activity is very closely supervised with the spray cans being locked in a cabinet in a locked room while not in use and closely monitored whilst in use.
“The aim is to encourage and teach a fine art form of the medium which shows young people that these results are much better and more expressive than spraying public areas. The workshops are actively designed to discourage random and illegal graffiti spraying.”
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