Friday, December 16, 2005

Graffiti - Is it art. An alternative to Borf. Washington, DC USA

Graffiti, is it art? I'm not debating that issue.

I do know that it is not a person's right to deface the property of others with paint, markers or any other tools of the trade of professional artists. Would it be right to take any other craftsmans tools and use them to inflict property damage? I don't think so! Our city can develop a program similar to the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia as a model for rehabilitating young teens to rechannel their energy into creative projects that support the community in which they live. The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program(MAP) started in 1984 as a component of the Anti-Graffiti Network (PAGN). PAGN is a city-wide initiative to eradicate destructive graffiti and address neighborhood blight. As part of this effort, PAGN hired mural artist Jane Golden in Philadelphia, to reach out to graffiti writers and redirect their energies to mural-making. Muralists like G. Byron Peck of City Arts in Washington, DC are already working with inner city teens to help create alternatives to destructive behaviour.

I think it is more than fair that Borf learn his craft before carrying around the tools of the trade and while making amends through community clean up service. I also think its fair that our city address a larger community issue. As MAP states "Murals are excellent catalysts for youth development. Murals challenge and affirm on a variety of levels, and provide a unique opportunity for young people to actively participate in a process that enhances their community. In addition, the impact of healthy relationships with adult role models-both in the arts and in the community-gives young people great pride in their own capabilities as artists and activists." Education is a key.

This from a homeowner in the District....

"As a Borf victim myself I agree with many of my other neighbors...
The obnoxious mural he left on the side of my house just says his name in three foot high letters....he tagged the Harrison School building as well, one of the oldest historic sites in our community, built in 1890 ... Power washing and painting are out of the question because of the delicate original unpainted brick.
.... the best suggestion yet, that the vandal should meet his victims and understand the damage he has done. Residents who literally put their life savings into a home, lovingly and painstakingly repair it, and then see it vandalized like this are crushed when they come home and see the damage. For small business owners, it's even worse. When the damage is to our historic treasures, we all suffer."

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