Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Becky. Becky Wonders, “is graffiti art or vandilism?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Becky!

Do you enjoy looking at art? Have you ever been to an art museum or gallery? Those aren’t the only places for people to see art! If you look closely, you might see art all around you. It may be on walls or buildings outside. You might even see art on trains and tunnels. This public form of art is called graffiti!

Some people don’t see graffiti as art. Instead, they think it’s part of a crime called vandalism. It’s a complex issue. Keep reading to decide what you think.

Graffiti is images or words scratched or painted on property. It includes any type of public markings. Graffiti can be as simple as written words or as complex as intricate paintings.

Have you ever WONDERed where the word “graffiti” comes from? It’s from the Italian word “graffiato,” which means “scratched.” Art historians think this is because the earliest graffiti was carved on walls. Examples of graffiti date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. This ancient graffiti often had love messages, political slogans, and popular quotes.

Today, graffiti is usually done with spray paint or marker pens. In most parts of the world, painting property without the owner’s permission is considered vandalism. This is why many people consider graffiti to be a crime.

Others believe graffiti is a valid form of art. Today, graffiti is also connected to hip hop culture and music. Street artists often use graffiti to express social and political messages.

On the other hand, graffiti is also linked to gangs. They use graffiti to mark territory or honor gang-related activities. Public officials must weigh the value of street art against vandalism related to crime.

Many public officials understand and see the value of public works of art. Some towns encourage graffiti if it is approved in advance and serves a public purpose.

Some towns, however, still battle unauthorized graffiti. Thanks to special paints, these places now have a solution. The new paint stops graffiti from sticking to walls forever. Instead, people can easily wash graffiti off of walls that have this special type of paint.

One well-known graffiti artist who helped bring graffiti into the mainstream in the 1980s was Keith Haring. Haring opened a store called the Pop Shop. There, he sold products, like bags and t-shirts, that featured his graffiti art. Before he opened his store, people could only find his art on city walls.

However, many graffiti artists like to stay nameless. That’s because of the threat of legal action from those who are against graffiti. Many artists choose to remain unknown rather than face problems with the law.

Have you ever seen graffiti? What did you think of it? Do you believe graffiti is art or vandalism?

Standards: C3.D2.His.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.1, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1

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Join us in Wonderopolis tomorrow as we exercise our right to free speech!