Yesterday, the Public Ad Campaign coordinated teams of people to whitewash illegal outdoor street-level billboards in Manhattan. Though many outdoor ads (also known as "wild postings") are illegal, the Department of Buildings also says it has its hands full fighting many instances of illegal billboards—hence the volunteer effort.
All of the people were give supplies like paint, buckets, rollers and construction vests—including "a formal letter from Citizens Against Urban Blight, stating that they are participating the city approved removal of illegal outdoor advertisements run by NPA, until further structural removal can be coordinated." ANIMAL NEW YORK's Bucky Turco was in one of the teams; he reports they started around 11AM:
In total we covered 120 of the 132 locations planned from Soho to Chelsea...
A second wave of approximately 46 artists—whom will be named later—then moved into to take advantage and beautify the newly created public canvasses. Unfortunately, every battle has its casualties, and one team of buffers was arrested. But overall, Seiler was happy with the outcome: “It was a complete success and we’ll be fighting the arrests in court.”
The newly whitewashed spaces were also an opportunity for some creativity—Wooster Collective says over 80 artists added flair to the now blank canvases. And Seiler is no stranger to reclaiming ad space.