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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 For those wishing to contribute, go to the campaign’s Go Fund Me page.

5 thoughts on “Anti-graffiti campaign celebrates early success with Thursday afternoon meet-up

  1. So much positive energy focused on improving Cuenca. Reducing the tagging makes our city look cleaner and safer. Increasing artworks improves the beauty and makes us more attractive. The collaboration between citizens, visitors, artists and our government makes this work and should help to make this sustainable.

    Join our initiative, and ask your friends to help. We are just getting started.

    1. Very happy with the cleaning and eliminating the horrid graffiti and restoring the historic district to it’s original beauty….but….not happy to hear about efforts to paint murals on historic old buildings….leave well enough alone now…..

      1. There are several cities around the world –Bogota and Valparaiso being two I have visited recently — where murals are a key element in the fight against graffiti tagging.

        Go to either of those cities and walk around town. It is very obvious. The blocks that have lots of murals have zero graffiti tags. Those streets without murals are tagged in the strongest and ugliest manner possible.

        Taggers tend to respect other artists and in general do not deface murals, where they will gladly do so for any blank wall.

  2. A lady I spoke with yesterday told me that Keep Cuenca Beautiful is only interested in eliminating “tags”. What about political graffiti, like “Muere Lenin”? Shouldn’t that be cleaned up too?

    1. I am sure they are doing that as well. Any and all graffiti is being dealt with as much as the volunteers can do.The lady in question should join in, and volunteer instead of criticizing the group.

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