Learning Graffiti — Without Destroying Property

Officer Smith of the Arlington Police showing students works of graffiti around Arlington.

Officer Smith of the Arlington Police made a visit to the Urban Arts & Graffiti class here at ACA – catching them in the act of graffiti making. As students were practicing their graffiti work in the ACA bathroom, Officer Smith stepped in just in time to give the kids a slight shock, where he told them how what they were partaking in was illegal. The twist in this story? The students were given permission by their teacher, Chris LeGare, to put their artwork on the bathroom walls.

Sample artwork made in ACA’s Urban Arts and Graffiti class

The class has been intently mastering the art of graffiti – rather than the quintessential “tagging” that is seen around, Chris has been teaching students about more artistic graffiti and how they can incorporate the style into their everyday artwork (without defacing property to do so).

After giving the kids a scare, Officer Smith escorted the class back into the room, where he explained the detrimental effects graffiti can have on a community. Students listened intently to Officer Smith as her discussed the way businesses are fined fifty dollars for each day that the graffiti is not removed from their building. He even went on to explain an extreme case, of a business that has yet to remove graffiti for 365 days. The students were shocked to hear that it is the victim that has to pay the price of the graffiti.

Officer Smith explained the likelihood of getting caught in the act of graffiti and the repercussions of their actions; many of the students already knew of their peers that had suffered these repercussions themselves.

Officer Smith viewing samples of stencil work made in class

The students were so invested in the conversation with Officer Smith that it took the entire class period, where it ended with Officer Smith showing them his binders of local graffiti in Arlington.

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