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Anti-graffiti campaign celebrates early success with Thursday afternoon meet-up

Keep Cuenca Beautiful volunteers paint over graffiti on a historic district building.

The campaign to eliminate graffiti from Cuenca’s historic district is off to an impressive start and organizers and volunteers gathered Thursday at the Inca Bar and Lounge to celebrate early accomplishments and to learn what comes next.

Keep Cuenca Beautiful organizers Susan Burke March and J.T. Neira with city of Cuenca representative Boris Cornejo (right) at the Thursday meet-up.

In addition to 70 Keep Cuenca Beautiful volunteers — both expats and Cuencanos — the event included representatives of city government, street artists and the district representative for Sherwin Williams, the company that has donated paint and cleaning supplies to the project.

“We are very pleased with what we have accomplished so far and I want to thank all of those who have helped in the campaign to keep Cuenca beautiful,” said J.T. Neira, one of the organizers. Wearing a “Tag Busters” t-shirt, Neira also discussed future projects and introduced local artists who have volunteered to paint murals on historic district walls.

He also thanked Ana Ortiz from the city’s public works department, who is leading Saturday and Monday mingas to restore El Centro walls.

J.T. Neira discusses future projects of the Keep Cuenca Beautiful campaign at Thursday’s meet-up at the Inca Bar.

Among the group’s ongoing efforts are to maintain close ties with city government. “JT and I recently met with city officials to enlist their continued support in eliminating tagging and vandalism to utility boxes and light poles in El Centro,” said campaign leader Susan Burke March. “They expressed their appreciation for the work the volunteers are doing and said they are considering increasing patrols to catch perpetrators.”

For those interested in joining the project, see the Keep Cuenca Beautiful Facebook page or contact Susan Burke March at sburkerd@gmail.com. For those wishing to contribute, go to the campaign’s Go Fund Me page.