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Is All Graffiti Vandalism? A Case To Pick Our Battles

Bozeman is my home and it’s important to me that I feel safe. Bob Marley stenciled graffiti does not make me uneasy. Poorly scribbled pseudo gang symbols made by Bozeman kids with nothing better to do DOES make me uneasy.

You know what I’m talking about.

Bozeman has both kinds of graffiti around town and most all of it was placed illegally and without permission. (There are a few locations around town where adventurous business owners have paid good money for local graffiti artists to display their work on said property.)

Although removal of graffiti costs the city time and money, there are occasions where I’d just assume leave the graffiti where it is. Those times are rare but those instances of illicit “art” are usually on a building or piece of property that has been neglected or completely ignored by the property owner.

Falling down buildings and dark, dingy parking garages are far more spooky to walk by at night than the smiling, rainbow colored face of Bob Marley.

So what is art? What is acceptable? What is illicit? What should be removed? Bozeman has a choice to make as to what we tolerate with graffiti and what we don’t. The act of marking property that doesn’t belong to us has been around since ancient times and probably won’t disappear anytime soon.

I vote to remove the wanna-be gang symbols and leave the Rasta. At least that way we’re guiding good taste in music with our youth.

Bozeman graffiti (photo Michelle Wolfe/KMMS)


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