Graffiti Artists Paint Babies to Prevent Rioting

London shop owners willing to try street-art experiment
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2012 3:04 PM CDT
Baby faces on a south-east London street: the latest attempt to calm angry youths.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Could you look at a baby's sweet face and still want to riot and pillage? Several London shop owners victimized by last year's riots are guessing the answer is no, the BBC reports. So they agreed to let graffiti artists paint cute-as-the-dickens portraits of local babies near their stores. "It's been here about three weeks now," says a shop owner of one painting. "Most passers-by who see him smile."

An advertising agency paid for the scheme, based on research dating back more than 60 years that baby images bring out the best in us. "The evidence suggests that babies' faces, the round cheeks and the big eyes, promote a caring response in human beings," says Tara Austin of Ogilvy and Mather advertising. The experiment is only the latest attempt to mollify youths in public places; others include classical music, pink lighting, and a highly annoying buzzing sound that only people younger than 25 can hear.

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