Lionel Van Deerlin Professor of Communications and Public Policy, San Diego State University
Introducing a segment on graffiti last week, Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News rhetorically asked: what is the difference between “one man’s vandalism and another man’s artistic expression?”
Lee Cowen of NBC, who reported the story, talked about “the vast canvas (of) the inner-city” and the problems cities are having given the increase in graffiti.
Cowen was picking up many of the complaints from a New York Times story about LA that “tags (another name for graffiti) have popped up on guardrails along the dirt trails near Griffith Park across town. There are, almost daily, fresh splashes on walls in the San Fernando Valley, on downtown Los Angeles buildings and on billboards along the highways.”
The graffiti problem isn’t unique to LA. Most cities see this as a growing epidemic. But “artistic expression” is real, and in what is fast becoming a “creative and innovation economy” could be a good thing for cities across America.
Clearly something positive is happening and cities need to find a way to stop the “vandalism” and encourage the “artistic expression.” Graffiti Parks might be one answer.