The Writing On The Wall

Written in red their protest stands,
For the Gods of the World to see;

Voltairine de Cleyre

I have watched with amusement the signs of battle between city and youth; the stalemate that represents the futility of the fight. I write of the cement barrier on Laburnum, on a turn before it meets with Latimer. For the past year I have watched the changing face of it, imagining the sparring of spray cans and grey paint. One week, it will be emblazoned with graffiti, the next criss-crossed with tracks of freshly rolled-on institutional grey. It must be very frustrating for both parties — seeing their work attacked and inversely erased from sight. I wondered if there would ever be an end to it. Perhaps the city has a surplus of grey paint and they are not all that fussed about the situation. Somebody has a sweet regular gig out of it. You have to really love painting though.

I have recently come across two ideas that may ease this dispute toward some sort of resolution. The St. Albert Gazette printed an inspiring and green solution to this type of problem (article: Backyard vines sprouts city program http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/20110903/SAG0801/309039972). Citizens planted vines and greenery to beautify a cement sound barrier and reduce traffic noise, but I think this would also work to discourage graffiti from sprouting.

Another idea is inspiring and creative. Graffiti programs in many major cities celebrate artists and diversity by allowing certain walls and buildings to be a palette for communication and sharing. Organized groups plan and paint beautiful murals that represent the culture in the area. I would love to round that corner on Laburnum and see a piece of art painted by the students from the schools in the area. It would put a smile on my face and pride in my heart. Until then, I will just shake my head and watch for the next lashings of paint.

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