Best LegaL graffiti W
hat one person sees as art might not resound as aesthetically in the mind of the next perceiver, forging the centuries-old debate as to what, exactly, is art. It can be argued that the city of Syracuse is hued
with a bleak baroque overtone, with more combs of gray than your average night at a bingo hall. But that changed recently, when four railroad bridges over the West Street arterial were tagged with maudlin murals spelling out “Love Letters to Syracuse,” as they’ve been dubbed.
Actually, the artists who spelled out these cutesy phrases were under no duress to avoid being caught, as the Near West Side Initiative—a group quarterbacked by Syracuse University that aims to “combine the power of art, technology and innovation with neighborhood values and culture to revitalize the neighborhood”—was given the green light by city officials as well as the company that owns the bridges, CSX, to paint away.
So, as you drive down West Street amid all the existing graffiti, here is a field guide to spot the four
B E S T O F S Y R A C U S E
murals that are legal. They read: I paid the light bill just to see your face; Nothing to do is everything with you; Spring comes. Winter waits. Fall leaves. Winter longs; Now that we are home, nowhere else matters.
Including compensating the artists, the project cost more than $100,000. In comparison, a few cases of spray paint at any given hardware outlet would probably cost a few hundred bucks, give or take, which is probably the amount of bail that would be set for someone caught defacing private property with their aerosol arsenal, even if it was a “love letter.”
That was the case recently with 18-year-old New
Jersey resident Christian Santacroce, who drove all the way up to Syracuse and ascended a Burger King billboard across Interstate 81 from some SU dormitories to spray-paint a message directed toward his girlfriend. “False: Avery,” it reads. The $1,500 in damages he racked up not only won him a most- likely ex-girlfriend, but he also accrued a Class D felony criminal trespass charge, making graffiti and possession of a graffiti instrument.
Guess his graffiti wasn’t artistic enough. R E A D E R S P O L L C O N T E S T
Michael Davis Photo
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