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Graffiti : ART or Crime?

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All this morning we've been talking about graffiti in Milwaukee.

This all stems from a meeting last night, when Alderman Tony Zielinski wanted a graffiti ordinance passed so badly that he left Thursday's meeting in a storm.

Check out this link. You really gotta watch this video!

I received well over a dozen calls about this today. So I am continuing this dialog here on line.

A great number of calls and emails from you, and I thank you all for that! This is a tricky issue. Let's face it, none of us want to see poorly written tags and gang symbols covering the walls and signs of our city, but this issue is not about that; it's about the process to legally paint murals (graffiti style or otherwise) on private property.

I agree that an application process would help to ensure that these murals are not an eye sore to the communities in which they are place, but almost every single mural I've ever seen in this city is better than some quick "throw up" tag by some night time graffiti criminal.

The other citizen you will see in the video link above, are from the TRUE SKOOL ORGANIZATION.

True Skool-

"Our goal is to create and find public art space to heal and beautify communities through the power of ART! We also identify walls that are commonly tagged and work with the property owner to paint over the illegal graffiti with themed positive artwork. "

Here is a great example of how True Skool is using graffiti art as a positive impact on our community...

North Avenue & East Richards Street Mural 8.16.08

The property owner saw TRUE Skool on the news and contacted us to paint over her garage that frequently gets tagged.



The crime element of this story is a major problem in our city, but what are the solutions to this problem? As a youth I was both into graffiti and skateboarding. I knew what laws were in place for these kinds of activities, so I found places where it was LEGAL to engage in these activities. Like skateboarding; if the vandalism of property is the main issue here, why can't we have some legal safe havens for those who want to practice this art form? As a home owner, I don't want my property tagged, and as a business owner my wife and I wouldn't want to see her work vandalised. However, as a member of this community I would like to see the dull walls of our city brightened by a few splashes of color.

What about these murals?

I drive past many of these murals in everyday, and I'd have to guess that these murals are not subject to any debate with our community...

So can we also embrace these?

Give me your thoughts and feedback.

Comment here or email me at jordan@radiomilwaukee.org

Thank you Milwaukee!