Students replacing graffiti with artwork in City Heights

22 self-portraits will cover wall at 51st and Polk

SAN DIEGO - A group of volunteers and students gathered in City Heights on Saturday morning to clean up graffiti at the corner of 51st Street and Polk Avenue.

It is part of a project organized by the San Diego Cultural Arts Alliance. The goal is to replace graffiti with artwork created by students. Twenty-two self-portraits will cover the wall.

Art teacher Brian Black says there is a sense of pride they develop while doing something good for their neighborhood.

"It wasn't for a grade," he said. "They knew it was going out into the community. They walk across the street every day and see graffiti.  Instead, they're going to see this mural."

Organizers hope this program will catch on as a way of combating graffiti. Statistics show 80 percent of graffiti is done by kids who want to express themselves and are not affiliated with gangs.

After prepping the wall, volunteers traced the pieces to prepare for Monday's job, which is getting the portraits up.

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