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Letter to the editor: Embrace the artistic side of graffiti

Letter to the editor: Embrace the artistic side of graffiti

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Billings, how can we embrace the artistic side of graffiti?

Billings is no stranger to graffiti in all of its forms. From the artwork lining downtown, the tags of artists on rail cars and abandoned buildings, to hateful symbols displayed on churches and in neighborhoods in years past. Because of this, graffiti and vandalism are often associated as being partners in crime. However, a distinction needs to form between the two in order to break down the stigmas that many graffiti artists face.

I think most can agree that graffiti is a beautiful thing when it does not contain hate and is displayed on consenting properties. So how can we as a city start the mission to embrace the artistic side of graffiti and begin the process of minimizing the destructive and demeaning side?

First, we need to establish that graffiti can be both art and vandalism. If the act is on non-consenting property it is automatically vandalism; even if it is an artistic piece. Alternatively, if the act is performed on a piece of property that allows for a masterpiece to be presented it is characteristically art, so long as it contains no hate speech.

The second measure would be to encourage the artistic side of graffiti and provide platforms for artists. As a community, if businesses take the steps to commission local artists to paint on their establishments, it would allow for genuine artworks to be displayed and for illegal acts to be more focused on by law enforcement.

Century Rasmussen



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