Orlando restaurant Pho Hoa turns vandalism into art with 'permission wall'

Local Vietnamese restaurant to allow artists to paint graffiti on wall

ORLANDO, Fla. – A family-owned restaurant is turning a bad experiences into something positive.

The owners of Pho Hoa found their Vietnamese restaurant covered in graffiti a few weeks ago. 

Instead of simply painting over it, they decided to embrace art instead with a "permission wall."

"We were taken by surprise because this had never happened before," said owner Judy Le.

Judy Le told Local 6 her Facebook community connected her with a local artist who offered to organize "The Wall of Pho Hoa" project. 

The first installment is a work done by a local artist who goes by the name Specials Sons.

"He just wanted to see what he could do as a trial piece.  He wanted to see how it would look," said co-owner Chris Le.

The idea of legal graffiti is not new to the City Beautiful. Pho 88 on Mills has a more established wall, but artists said getting on it is very competitive. Regardless, Judy said  offering a safe place for graffiti is good for everyone.

"We support the arts, we love graffiti, we love art.  We support Orlando and want to keep the city clean as well," Judy said.

The artists must submit portfolios and go through a review process. The Le's tell Local 6 the entire side wall of the restaurant will be reserved for experienced artists, while the back wall will be offered to the less experienced.

And should the vandals who tagged Pho Hoa two weeks ago want to revisit? Chris said  the door is open.

"If we give them a free space to do it, maybe they'll come out and practice and develop as artists, not vandals," he said.

If you'd like to apply for the project, send an email to wallsofphohoa@yahoo.com.

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