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Rules for Graffiti Registration and Protection

The Commissioner of Cultural Affairs and Special Events hereby issues the
following rules for graffiti registration and protection. These rules are promulgated
pursuant to Sections 2-28-030(b) and 7-28-065 of the Municipal Code of Chicago.

Section 1 Definitions
Terms used in these rules that are defined in Section 7-28-065 of the Municipal
Code of Chicago shall bear those definitions. In addition, the following terms are
defined for the purposes of these rules:

“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

or his designee.

“DCASE” means the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special

“Owner” means any person who alone, jointly, or severally with others has legal
title to or is in charge, care, or control of any building or structure.

Section 2 Application to Register Graffiti on Private Property

2.1 Eligibility and Process
Any owner may apply to DCASE to register graffiti by submitting a
completed application and either a picture of the graffiti or a drawing of the proposed

2.2 Removal of Registered Graffiti Designation

An owner who wishes to remove registered graffiti from the DCASE record
shall notify DCASE at least seven days before removal of the registered graffiti.

Section 3 City-Owned Property

3.1 Direct Registration
The Commissioner may designate an inscription, drawing, mark, or design
that is etched, painted, sprayed, or drawn directly upon the exterior a building or
structure as registered graffiti if it meets the requirements set in Section 4. Upon such
designation, the registered graffiti shall be listed in the record and marked with the
DCASE symbol.

3.2 Community Support

Members of the community and aldermen may submit an application to
DCASE to register graffiti which exists on City-owned property. Such application shall
include: 1) the location of the work; 2) a picture of the work; and 3) contact information
for the applicant.
Section 4 Requirements and Exclusions
The Commissioner shall review all applications and consider relevant factors,
including, but not limited to, (i) the visual impact of the graffiti on surrounding buildings,
including whether the graffiti will block light or sightlines of building occupants, (ii) the
size of the graffiti, (iii) the relevant geography and character of the area, (iv) the
measures the applicant proposes to ensure the safety and durability of the graffiti, (v)
whether the proposed artwork poses any potential traffic or other public way safety
concerns, (vi) the viewpoint of the affected community with regard to the proposed
graffiti, (vii) whether the graffiti contains one of the below excluding factors.

Applications will not be granted in the following instances:

1) The proposal depicts a sign requiring permits under Section 13-20-550.
2) The work contains known gang-symbols or depicts an unreasonable or
offensive act, utterance, gesture or display that create a clear and present danger of a
breach of peace or imminent threat of violence.
3) The work depicts material harmful to minors under Municipal Code of
Chicago Section 8-8-110.

Section 5 Existing Works

Works registered with DCASE before August 30, 2018, shall be protected under
these rules, included in the record of registered graffiti, and these works shall be
marked with the appropriate DCASE symbol.

Section 6 DCASE
6.1 Application
DCASE shall make available an application for registering graffiti. The
application shall contain instructions conveying the process established in Section 2 of
the rules and require:
A) The name of the owner;
B) The mailing address, telephone number, and email address of the
C) The address of the building or structure where the graffiti is located;
D) A description of the building or structure and its primary use; and
E) A photograph or detailed drawing of the graffiti.

6.2 Notice
DCASE shall develop a symbol to indicate that the graffiti is registered
with the Department. The symbol should state “DCASE” or “Department of Cultural
Affairs and Special Events” and the “City of Chicago”. The symbol shall be capable of
being applied to registered graffiti either as a stamp, by paint, or by spray-paint. The
symbol should be designed so that it cannot be easily duplicated.
DCASE shall place the symbol on all registered graffiti.
6.3 Record of Registered Graffiti
DCASE shall establish, update, and maintain a record of all registered
graffiti. The record shall include the photo or drawing of the graffiti, the address, and all
other information required to be included on the application under Section 6.1 of these
rules. This record shall be updated monthly and reflect graffiti removed under Section
2.2 of these rules.
The record shall include works registered before the adoption of these
rules, as established in Section 5.
The Commissioner may determine whether to publish the record or make
it available electronically.

6.4 Removal from Record

DCASE may delist graffiti and remove it from the record in accordance
with Section 2.2. In addition, DCASE may delist and remove from the record registered
graffiti that has been damaged (e.g., through vandalism or weather) or is changed or
understood to include an exclusionary element from Section 4. At least fourteen days
prior to delisting and removing graffiti from the record, DCASE shall send the owner
notice of the imminent delisting.

Section 7 City Responsibility

The City shall have no duty to maintain registered graffiti or protect against future
vandalism. Registration of graffiti shall be voidable and the Department of Streets and
Sanitation may cover or remove registered graffiti, in accordance with the Code, if
conditions requiring this step occur. For example, if weather, time, or vandalism
damage the registered graffiti to the point that it falls falls within the exclusions
established by these rules or is significantly modified from the approved image, the
registered graffiti may be covered or removed in whole or in part. If the Department of
Streets and Sanitation believes that registered graffiti should be covered or removed for
these or other reasons, it shall first consult with DCASE.
Before removing or covering graffiti, the Department of Streets and Sanitation
shall visually inspect the graffiti to search for the presence or absence of the DCASE
symbol and check the most current release of the DCASE registry. This inspection shall
constitute the consultation with DCASE required under Section 11-4-2190. If the
DCASE symbol is visible, the Department of Streets and Sanitation may not remove the