USA: Petition to help artist arrested for painting a utility box
In California, USA, a local artist involved in helping build City of Santa Ana’s public art scene was arrested on 2 July 2014 for painting an electrical box.
Artist Tony Pedraza faces up to a year in prison for making a piece of art that was done wholeheartedly with pride and love for his community. He is not being prosecuted for the content or message of his art work – he was arrested by the City’s Graffiti Task Force and charged with a felony for painting a utility box mural.
What made this artist think he could just start painting on an electrical box in a city which, like all cities, has street graffiti regulations? Artist Alicia Rojas, who started a petition to support him, explains why she thinks the prosecution of Tony Pedraza is unfair:
Tony Pedraza had become aware of the city council’s ‘Utility Box Art Project’ as he witnessed other artists painting utility boxes around down town. Without talking to these artists about how they had been selected and approved for this assignment, he decided to gift the community with his art as well and took it upon himself to paint one of the utility boxes with his own supplies. He allegedly didn’t realise that the City’s Graffiti Task Force would consider this a felony.
“This was not graffiti or tagging. This was street art,” stated Alicia Rojas, also a local Santa Ana artist, in the petition text on change.org. The petition will be delivered to The District Attorney and The City of Santa Ana.
Petitioning The District Attorney and The City of Santa Ana, CA:
Drop ALL Charges Against Community Artist Tony Pedraza