Critiquing Graffiti Spurs Interest, Disgust 

I don't know whether to be shocked by your stupidity or repulsed by the baseness of your graffiti article ("Aerosol Politics," Cover Story, Dec. 13). Graffiti doesn't compare to murder or armed robbery in terms of criminal severity, but it's still a crime.

Your article rated criminal actions and gave "expert" commentary on several examples. Next will you critique muggers and carjackers on their skill, efficiency and monetary take? The article didn't need the critique section, and it takes away from the journalistic integrity of the piece.

Graffiti costs everyone — the business owner, the homeowner and the community in general. Everyone pays not only real dollars, but a decrease in property values and community aesthetics. It might be art in a gallery, but it's simply destruction of property, the permanent defacing of property and our city.

Matt Cushman

I am disgusted and appalled that Style has chosen to glorify the work of racist gangs in the city. All of those brats who went around "tagging" the old neighborhoods in the city have rich mommies and daddies. They'll get off scot-free and the self-serving yuppie scum at Style will pat them on their backs for their "art." Money talks.

I live in the city. I try to help fight things like racism and homelessness. You see, some of us have to live in the real world, where life is not a big, fun game. I hope your country club has a nice Christmas cotillion this year!

Mark Williams

With regard to Amy Biegelsen's article on graffiti art, I was happy to see an article focusing on the content and style of some of the graffiti art in the area. I was, however, extremely surprised that no mention was made of Rick Tatnall's efforts at iNCUBATE Gallery to promote and decriminalize graffiti art.

Chris Lumpkin

Amy Biegelsen's story was an interesting glimpse into the Richmond graf world. In an effort to expand on that glimpse, I would like to inform/remind people of the Citizens Against Crime Graffiti Art Gallery.

Created earlier this year, the Graffiti Art Gallery offers graffiti artists a legal opportunity to practice and perfect their art, while sharing the power of the graffiti arts with the rest of the Richmond community. iNCUBATE (3412 W. Leigh St.) is the home of the gallery, but the gallery is always traveling, in spirit and in being.

As a traveling spirit, the gallery promotes problem-solving through encouragement, not incarceration. As a traveling being, the gallery promotes the many wonders of the graffiti arts, at iNCUBATE, on the Citizens Against Crime Web site, and in projects and at exhibitions throughout Richmond. Ultimately, it is hoped the Graffiti Art Gallery will positively impact the Richmond region both artistically and socially, while helping to create a more forward-thinking and open-minded community.

The Graffiti Art Gallery has already played an important role in opening minds in Richmond through its involvement in the Open High School's graffiti art class and their painting of a wall of the William Byrd Community House gym. Minds should be opened quite a bit more on April 6, when the Graffiti Art Gallery will open an exhibition at the main branch of the Richmond Public Library, as a part of the April 1 First Fridays celebration.

And minds will undoubtedly be opened even more when the Graffiti Art Gallery unveils its "Graffiti Art Calendar" at the April exhibition, a 15-month calendar printed by the City of Richmond's Department of Public Works, Output Services Division.

The subject of graffiti is multifaceted, eliciting strong emotion on all sides. As far as the Graffiti Art Gallery is concerned, our goal is to significantly reduce illegal graffiti vandalism while nurturing the graffiti arts and the spray-can arts by providing legal and productive paths for studying and perfecting techniques and styles. My hope is the gallery will help offer new alternatives and ideas to the discussion.

Rick Tatnall
Executive Director

Citizens Against Crime

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