North Texas Daily

Graffiti should be better represented on campus

Graffiti should be better represented on campus

Graffiti should be better represented on campus
January 24
14:00 2020

UNT is an institution filled with many diverse talents that are showcased around campus. We are able to uplift our reputation, recruit new students and carry on a legacy through the ways we celebrate art on campus. As a university that claims to value the arts, UNT does a wonderful job representing most art forms around campus. In addition to the gallery space in the Union, UNT provides several galleries in the CVAD for students to showcase their art. The sculptures outside the Union and frequent events add to our diverse cultural environment and what makes UNT feel like home to many of us.

With all of this, it seems that the arts are very well balanced here on campus, but there’s one art form that’s often forgotten due to how we perceive it. Graffiti is an equally valuable art form but is seldom represented as one, and we should consider opening creative spaces for graffiti artists on campus.

The art of street graffiti lives on the outskirts of campus, around Fry Street and throughout downtown Denton. It’s one of my favorite things about Denton and it seems to draw people here. Despite graffiti’s artistic value, there aren’t any forms of graffiti represented on campus. This is in large part due to the negative connotations that exist around graffiti. Vandalism laws keep us from viewing graffiti as a real form of art in an effort to protect us. Depending on the damage and monetary loss, graffiti artists can be charged with either misdemeanors or felonies. These laws protect us from serious monetary damage, and crucial to keeping our buildings safe from violation. UNT, however, is a campus filled with culture and history. There’s no better way to honor that than allowing our campus to reflect us. I believe we should open up creative spaces for graffiti artists on campus. We can work to balance vandalism laws and protect the buildings we want to preserve while also allowing our students to build up our artistic history onto others.

This can all be reasonably done through communication, representation and open-mindedness. Once everyone is able to acknowledge how graffiti adds to our lives in Denton, we can begin to reimagine our campus as well. Spaces like the courtyard in the CVAD or the music practice buildings come to mind when imagining what buildings would look good with graffiti. I also think it’d be beneficial to get feedback from all students, perhaps even the residents of Denton, as to what areas should be opened up. Most importantly, graffiti artists should have a voice in how they are represented. Balancing all these perspectives will allow us to create a safe, open and beautiful environment that represents UNT culture.

I’ve only been on this campus for one semester, but looking out my window and seeing local art around Denton makes this place feel like home. Art is not a crime, and we shouldn’t treat it like one.

Featured Illustration: Jae-Eun Suh

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Rose Bhaskar

Rose Bhaskar

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