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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Graffiti or art? The new laws make us look foolish either way

Wichita Peace and Freedom Party Examiner

It would seem as if Wichita is obsessed with graffiti. Some people consider graffiti artwork, rather than just vandalism. It is true that some of it is pretty trashy and it is not always appropriate on someone’s private building. But in many parts of the world it is not even considered vandalism; it is considered freedom of speech. And for some local people here in Wichita, freedom of speech is just not their favourite thing.
There are graffiti artists who, in some communities, see what they do art. Wichita seems real hard on graffiti artists and my guess is that part of the problem is that many people here can’t appreciate public art or free expression. We just don’t see the kind of building art they have in other cities and in other countries.
The latest rules, according to The Wichita Eagle, outlaw spray paint, broad-tipped markers and a variety of other potential graffiti tools on public property or within 100 feet of it. This applies to 18 year olds, which shows an assumption that only kids would spray graffiti. The new law also bans stores from selling the materials to anyone under the age of 18. This is a little like the war on drugs only it is even more ridiculous. A young person in Wichita has to have an adult by them art supplies the way they would need to buy cigarettes or liquor. These kind of laws make the city look small minded and backward.
For the most part it jus make us all look like narrow-minded morons who have to have an identification to buy just about anything if we are under the age of 18.
Roslyn Café, in Seattle, WA

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