The Graffiti Exposure in Wynnum

Is it a work of art; or a piece of scrawl sprayed across some bare surface?
Ladies and Gentlemen, should Wynnum be exposed to Graffiti?

Firstly, I would like to ask you. What is the cost to the government to ‘cover
up\' this unwanted advertisement? One recent attack placed a school
approximately $4000 out of pocket. Further more, over the last twelve months,
my school has experienced nine attempts at destroying the asthetic appeal of the
buildings within. I could also safely say that most of the other schools in the
Wynnum Manly district, both public and private, received similar encounters of
degradation.

It\'s not just the cost, it\'s also the time. What about the cleaners? What
about the painters? What about the police? I am sure there are more
constructive projects to cover than cleaning up after some graffiti vandal.

It is not just our schools who experience the attacks. Scout dens, parks,
businesses, trains, just to name a few, all lie in the mercy of the local crew,
or graffiti gang.

Is there a reason for such an act? Criminologists suggest that there are many
motives for graffiti. These motives all point to one main factor. Targeting the
higher authority:

Revenge towards the authority;
Anger towards the authority;
Boredom from lack of authority;
To convince of self-existence, and
To explore prohibited areas placed by authority.

The pattern of locations the police established, is that all the tags, or the
writer\'s signature, are placed in exposed, publicised areas so the public can
witness the graffiti vandal\'s attempt to ‘make his point.\'

The targets are not necessarily towards formal authority, such as the police,
but also informal authorities such as social morals; for example, the principle
of a school.

If we removed authority from our society, the social control would be lost,
making it impractical and impossible for our or any society to operate
successfully. So what can be done?

It is sad to hear that after several graffiti attacks in the Bayside area, the
shock value of the concept is lost. The attitude of the police is pesermistical
- ‘the problem can not be eliminated.\' However, what if the problem could be
prevented.

At Wynnum North High, in 1993, our school Chaplain, Mr. Kappa, began to run
afternoon ‘legal street art\' projects. The Wynnum/Redlands Youth and Community
Combined Action Project are also holding Legal Street Art Workshops and both
have gained high success rates of reducing the level of illegal graffiti
artists in the Bayside area.

These projects encouraged youths to be involved in organised, supervised
activities and helped them develop an appreciation and respect for community
property and the environment. The project also encourages and provides
mechanisms for youths to leease with local authority groups and the community in
a positive manner.

The workshops catered to mainly benefit the individuals. It offers an
environment where the participants can build trust and non-threatening
relationships with the supervisors. The supervisors also provide support to the
artists, as they usually carry their emotional baggage to the workshops.

The programme gives the artists a sense of belonging and acceptance to the
community, removing the motives mentions earlier. And improving the
participants\' self-esteem with achievements, such as a final mural painted by
the group, accomplished in the workshops.

As a result of the project\'s aims to shift the emphasis from illegal to legal
street art, the style became more acceptable for the public eye, and portrayed
positive attitudes, giving legal street art a more acceptable place in society.

The workshops have seen many of the illegal graffiti artists become successful
after attending, and have gone to further their careers in sign writing,
designing and advertising.

In addition to these local projects, a recent issue in the ‘Queensland Education
Views\' gazette reported the decreasing school damage insurance claims. The
article quotes that in 1992, there were 5601 insurance claims by state schools.

In late 1992, an injection of almost one million dollars into school security
seen a 20% decrease in school insurance claims on vandalism. The claim in 1994
fell to 4485 claims. The article states that the decline is from establishing a
School Watch programme, which increases the level of security of the school,
following the same objectives as the Neighbourhood Watch programme.

Joining the two enterprises, we will see the level of graffiti drop dramatically
in our community as well as our schools.

I believe that such projects as the Legal Street Art programme can convert the
offenders from resisting to joining the community. Thus giving them a chance to
wipe their slate clear, and start off new with a more positive, and prosperous
aspect towards