I might be in the minority but I like graffiti in the appropriate setting; dive bar bathrooms, boring walls, abandoned buildings are all free reign. To me it reads as living art, always evolving with each pass (and can have much more public interest than a commissioned mural). On a more basic level, its just a fun pop of color usually in a space that is otherwise lifeless.
Recently on a walk along the river Downtown (on the stretch from 6th St to the Stanwix) I thought to myself, 'Damn, this stretch is ugly.' Whereas other sections of the park have been beautifully restored, the portion I was on has yet to see any renewed energy. Instead of carefully laid flagstone and native landscaping, the span is dominated by an ugly patchwork painted wall to cover up what was formally graffiti. Yet looking across the river, the views from this section are incredible and should most definitely command a better use.
I thought to myself, how could you make this stretch feel more alive that would carry minimal costs? Certainly this stretch will be rehabbed in the near future (as we luckily have seen terrific investment in our riverfronts); but how could you do something of impact now to make it feel less of an after thought and an eye sore. My thought...let it go. Open it up to graffiti, maybe going as far to have a call for artists. Can you imagine how much more interesting it would be to have a place where you visit to find new works each time? What if it evolved into an arms race among those that pride themselves in street art; creating an evolving, dynamic public art showcase? Another asset for those exploring Downtown to experience?
The argument of course is that graffiti is negative and unsafe (which can be the case). But if this becomes a place that welcomes graffiti, you remove the crime aspect of it and open it up people who just want their art to be showcased. Below are some examples where you graffiti is not only welcomed but serves as a destination. I would love to see works like this there rather than the sad shades of gray that dominate the space.
|This cute yarn bomb is a welcome dose of color along this drab stretch.|
|Graffiti serving as a destination in Austin, TX|