Opinion | St. Catharines needs to stop trying to stop graffiti – Niagarathisweek.com

Graffiti is art. The sooner we all get on the same page about that simple fact, the better.

Im sure the lawyers wont let me get any further into this column without first acknowledging that graffiti, as an act of vandalism, is a crime. Dont do crimes. All right, moving on.

For reasons that elude my understanding, St. Catharines has its granny-panties all in a bunch over some graffiti thats been popping up around the city lately. City hall got all grumpy about the graffiti, which sent the local police on an ill-advised witch hunt for the artists behind the graffiti.

In April, police arrested and charged three dudes with a litany of charges related to graffiti. Seems heavy handed to me, but I get it; some people dont have the same kind of refined artistic palate that I do, and thus, they are unable to appreciate graffiti for what it is.

If I were sitting down to make a list of things I wanted the police to focus on, top of the list would be to stop shooting unarmed Black men. Number two would probably be something about not wasting so much money on tanks and tear gas and assault rifles. As for arresting graffiti artists, that likely wouldnt crack the top 100 on my police priority list.

Not only does arresting graffiti artists feel like a waste of time and resources, its also targeting a victimless crime (like stealing music from the internet) and saddling poor kids with criminal records they dont need or deserve.

To my carefully trained artistic eye, graffiti is a form of artwork that highlights a citys true colours and adds character and style to otherwise dreary spaces. The underside of a train bridge could either be a drab, gray, forgettable concrete wasteland, or a place bursting with vibrant, colourful graffiti created by local artists. Given those two options, Ill take the latter.

Viewing graffiti as some kinda scourge to be wiped away is an outdated way of thinking. It also presupposes that the people who live in graffiti-filled neighbourhoods dont like the way it looks, which I think is probably inaccurate.

More often than not, the people complaining about graffiti are the rich old white folks who live in squeaky clean suburbia and only happened to see a graffiti tag when they were driving downtown to go to the bank or something. Why do we even care what those people think? Its not their neighbourhood.

We dont come to their affluent rich guy neighborhoods and complain about the ugly marble fountains they put in the middle of their driveway roundabouts that are basically shrines to income inequality. We dont come through their upscale gated communities and whine about the gaudy post-modern, sharp-angled glass architecture that makes all their houses look like ugly knockoff Apple retail stores.

The rest is here:

Opinion | St. Catharines needs to stop trying to stop graffiti - Niagarathisweek.com

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