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Monday, October 2, 2023

Staff Editorial

City council’s stance on graffiti doesn’t speak for everyone

Around campus you may have seen these inconspicuous white signs with a minimalist white and blue scheme. These signs read The Statue of Four Lies and then at the bottom is the corresponding website,

The bronze statues, which represent two former UH students known as the Art Guys — Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing — is the newest form of public art built on our campus.

Most UH students have seen the signs all around campus, but many will miss the beauty of the artwork. The statues represent a chance for the public to personally interact with the statues and to make them their own. This is public art that is intended to be painted, altered or modified to further expression.

Public art is a perfect venue to add life and character to otherwise mundane components of Houston. The question is, why then do we only allow public art in the form of statues on a campus, and not others like graffiti on trains, sticker art on walls of buildings, or the aerosol tags and intricate stickers on electrical traffic boxes around Houston?

If you were to go out anywhere in Houston and pop the top off of a spray paint, you can can be assured that legal consequences will ensue of you’re caught by the police. Despite the risk of law enforcement, success and hard work would only remain as art for a limited time.

The Houston City Council passed an ordinance Monday that will target and abate graffiti of Houston’s Greater East End. The five-year contract will abate the graffiti at a rate of 80 dollars per hour.

The president of the Greater East End management said that “graffiti is like leaving your front door open to criminals,” Diane Schenke said.

One person’s view of graffiti is not the city’s. One council of old people does not — and should not — decide what the city finds to be crime or art. Just like “The Statue of Four Lies,” graffiti serves many Houstonians with artistic stimulation. Unfortunately, expressing your artistic side on either “The Statue of Four Lies” or a bridge in Houston will cause you to be punished, not rewarded.

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