- US. District Judge Frederic Block awarded $6.7 million to graffiti artists on Monday
- 21 graffiti artists sued the owner, Gerald Wolkoff, of the 5Pointz site under the Visual Artists Rights Act
A group of street artists emerged victorious in their suit against the developer who whitewashed their work in 2013 from the historic Queens, New York graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz.
A federal judge from Brooklyn awarded a judgment of $6.7 million on Monday to 21 graffiti artists whose works were destroyed in 2013 5Pointz complex in Long Island City, Queens.
According to Vice, in his 100-page decision, Judge Frederic Block ordered Gerald Wolkoff, the owner of the building, to pay $150,000 for each of the 45 works destroyed — the maximum damages possible.
His ruling represents a decisive victory for street artists in the fight to legitimize and protect their work.
Though Mr. Wolkoff’s lawyers had argued that the buildings were his to treat as he pleased, the jury found he violated the Visual Artists Rights Act, or V.A.R.A., which has been used to protect public art of “recognized stature” created on someone else’s property.