Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Hopkins Introduce Ordinance to Create a Registry of Murals in Chicago

October 31, 2018

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, with 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis today introduced an ordinance to City Council to create a registry of murals, including graffiti art in Chicago. The registry will be maintained by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and its Public Art Program.

“Public art in Chicago is vital to the spirit and quality of life in neighborhoods across Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The mural registry will help to elevate and protect the growing number of invaluable murals, while dedicating the resources necessary to clean up graffiti from our streets.”

The proposed ordinance will identify the thousands of existing murals across the City, and will create a formal process for DCASE, city partners and property owners to add new murals to the registry. Murals in the registry will be affixed with an official emblem.

“Chicago is home to a vibrant arts scene and many talented artists, and we are proud to support work that brightens our neighborhoods,” said Alderman Hopkins. “Registering this art not only makes it easier for our partners at DSS to do their work, it gives us an opportunity to catalogue the great works across our city.”

“This ordinance will create a careful, coordinated process for identifying public art in neighborhoods across Chicago,” said Alderman Solis. “I am proud of the talented artists that work in our communities to add to the social fabric, and this ordinance will help highlight this great work.”

Creating a mural registry will help easily identify between public art and graffiti, which is removed by the Department of Streets and Sanitation when reported. The graffiti program works with aldermen, community groups, block clubs, chambers of commerce and residents to respond to reports of graffiti.  Graffiti removal is a free service offered by the City of Chicago. 

Residents who would like to report graffiti can call 311, or visit

In 2017, the City of Chicago celebrated the "Year of Public Art" which culminated with hundreds of new works of public art throughout the city and the creation of Chicago’s first Public Art Plan. The new plan is a blueprint that will help shape the future of public art in Chicago and shift how we interact, talk about and support works of art that can be viewed by all.

Chicago was one of the first municipalities in 1978 to implement an ordinance mandating that 1.33% of the cost of public buildings be set aside for the creation of original artwork. The Chicago Public Art Collection managed by DCASE includes more than 500 works of art exhibited in over 150 municipal facilities around the city, such as police stations, libraries, and CTA stations. The Collection provides the citizens of Chicago with an improved public environment and enhances city buildings and spaces with quality works of art by professional artists.