A little more than five months have passed since downtown Tacoma’s ‘Graffiti Garage’ officially became off-limits to, well, graffiti.
For five years, the privately-owned garage, located at 723-737 Broadway, was a haven for local street artists to show their work. Visitors were treated to vibrant (and rotating) displays of local street art, and artists could legally spray paint their work on the garage’s walls, floors, pillars, and ceiling without breaking any laws.
That changed last year, however, when City of Tacoma officials announced the property owner (citing concerns over safety, liability, and feedback from neighbors) was turning the garage into, well, a garage. As of Nov. 1, it no longer was legal to spray paint on the site.
The Tacoma Daily Index stopped by the former Graffiti Garage this week to see what it looks like now that all the artists have gone away. For starters, a fresh coat of off-white-colored paint covers nearly every surface, cloaking the site’s street art history. And yet, there is still some evidence of graffiti and street art on the walls, ceiling, and even the fare boxes and garbage can. It seems the Graffiti Garage hasn’t entirely given up the ghost.
Here are some photographs of the former Graffiti Garage circa-April 2014. Enjoy!
To read the Tacoma Daily Index’s complete and comprehensive coverage of graffiti in Tacoma, click on the following links:
- Tacoma City Council committee to discuss graffiti removal, code compliance (Tacoma Daily Index, February 27, 2014)
- Year In Review: Tacoma Graffiti (Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 31, 2013)
- Tacoma offers tips to combat graffiti (Tacoma Daily Index, Dec. 16, 2013)
- Downtown Tacoma’s Graffiti Garage artist venue to close (Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 25, 2013)
- City Hall to step up graffiti removal efforts in Tacoma (Tacoma Daily Index, Sept. 24, 2013)
- Pilot project aims to quickly remove Tacoma graffiti (Tacoma Daily Index, Sept. 20, 2013)
- Code inspections ahead for Tacoma’s business districts (Tacoma Daily Index, Feb. 7, 2013)
- A City of Canvases: A photo tour of Tacoma’s 5 mural sites (Tacoma Daily Index, June 5, 2012)
- 5 sites selected for Tacoma Murals Project (Tacoma Daily Index, May 1, 2012)
- Tacoma Murals Project seeks sites for neighborhood murals (Tacoma Daily Index, Feb. 8, 2012)
- Hilltop-McCarver mural to be unveiled Saturday (Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 14, 2010)
- Safe Streets seeks ‘Operation Graffiti Cover-Up’ volunteers (Tacoma Daily Index, May 10, 2010)
- City seeks visual artists for mural art pilot program (Tacoma Daily Index, May 4, 2010)
- City seeks teaching artists for Mural Art Training Program (Tacoma Daily Index, April 26, 2010)
- The Notes of Spanish Steps (Tacoma Daily Index, Sept. 30, 2009)
- Tacoma Clean Sweep June 6 (Tacoma Daily Index, June 1, 2009)
- Ordinance would amend graffiti codes (Tacoma Daily Index, July 16, 2007)
- Ordinance would amend graffiti codes (Tacoma Daily Index, July 9, 2007)
Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State; third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; and third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright. His work has appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.