Most people who spent time at the UW know about Tubs, the semi-infamous business on the corner of 50th and Roosevelt that offered hot tubs by the hour. Of course, the cleanliness of the private tubs was always a subject of spirited debate.In 2007, Tubs went to the big sauna in the sky. The intention was to turn the building into condominiums, but the down economy has meant the building has stood vacant since then. Not surprisingly, an empty building would occasionally get tagged with graffiti. In 2009, a local artist collective, Free Sheep Foundation, got permission to create a temporary art installation. They invited graffiti artists to decorate both the inside and outside of the building.
As you can imagine, there’s still no evidence they are moving ahead with the condos. With the owner’s approval, the building has become a magnet for graffiti artists and taggers—all four walls are covered with a constantly changing mural (or unsightly mess, depending on your perspective).
There’s a city ordinance that requires businesses to clean up graffiti within 10 days, but it doesn’t apply in this case because the owner considers it artwork. What do you think? A canvas for artists and an outlet that prevents other buildings from getting tagged? Or just plain ugly?
There are more than 1,400 photos in a Flickr group devoted to the Tubs building if you haven’t had a chance to see it in person.
Photos by Eyes On My World.