Problems with Artistic Expression

          Problems with Artistic Expression(Graffiti).

Graffiti is a world renowned art form that uses city streets, buildings, public transportation, and many other inner city surroundings as murals to display a wide variety of ideas and images. Although this outlet for artistic freedom is remarkable it seems to be an eyesore for some of the population. Graffiti by definition is the mainly illegal/legal markings, as initials, slogans, or drawings, written, spray-painted, or sketched on a sidewalk, wall of a building or public restroom. ( The art form can be done legally it, it is done by a wide variety of taggers (graffiti artist) illegally making it an ever growing problem worldwide.

Many communities view graffiti as an eyesore saying that it frightens the public and makes them feel for their safety, while putting a large in dent tax payers’ wallets. This is especially the case among the residents of America. The problem is costing the nation millions to cover up unwanted graffiti images from schools, small businesses, churches, and many other buildings that make up the communities of the nation. The overall amount that taxpayers contributed to in 2009 was 38.5 million dollars, for graffiti cleanup. America isn’t   the only nation that is having trouble with the growing art form.  Australia spends an estimated $260 million dollars annually on graffiti cleanup.

                Estimated Cost for Graffiti Removal

» City of San Jose, CA spent approximately $2 million in 2006 fighting graffiti.

Pittsburgh, PA (population just over 300,000) spends around $350,000 annually for graffiti cleanup.7-

» Omaha, NE spends about $100,000 a year on graffiti removal (population just over 400,000).

» Chicago, IL budgeted $6.5 million in 2006 for graffiti removal and Graffiti Blasters, the city’s removal program (population a little over 2.8 million).

» Las Vegas, NV with a population of about 1.7 million spends more than $3 million each year cleaning up graffiti.

» Springdale (AR) paid more than $15,000 in 2007 to remove graffiti around the city. Graffiti appeared on buildings, bridges, drainage ditches, signs, traffic boxes, streets and sidewalks. The reported incidents of graffiti climbed to 454 in 2007, compared with 220 in 2006.

» Seattle Public Utilities spent about $1 million last year for graffiti enforcement, removal, education and outreach, while King County Metro Transit spent $734,000 last year to rid buses, tunnels, park and rides and bus shelters of graffiti.

Nations continue to pay due to illegal graffiti, not only is it hurting the pockets of taxpayers, its giving true graffiti artist a bad reputation. Murals need to be done legally to rehabilitate the smudged reputation of Graffiti, not only does it add to the artistic variety of a city, but it can show the cities heritage or other characteristics. Luckily local cities and even campuses such as IU have embraced the world renowned art, by initiating the community graffiti project during the campuses Moveable Feast of the Arts and Arts Week. The project was made to show that graffiti is an art form just like any other, and deserves to be treated as one, regardless of it past history.

The unique art form of graffiti has been costing taxpayers and cities millions annually. Although the form is a great way to express ideas and beliefs of artist it’s becoming too costly for the nation.


 Cathy. (2010). Tax payers and environmental cost of graffiti in Los Angeles. Retrieved from

Campus-community graffiti project is part of IU’s moveable feast of the arts and arts week 2008-2009. (2007). (Master’s thesis, Indiana University) Retrieved from


Written By K yle Roach

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