Sarah Goldrup has written a really interesting article for the Guelph Arts Council newsletter about the difference between graffiti and street art and how the City of Edmonton has developed a graffiti management plan.
Research done in Edmonton suggests that while graffiti is an act of vandalism, vandals tend to leave street art alone, which is a compelling argument for cities to fund artists to spruce up alley-way and parking lot walls.
There's an initiative going on in Guelph called Murals of Hope, which hopes to clean up a badly-tagged stretch of wall along the Speed River (behind Cardigan Street) and have it repainted with murals instead.
I have to say the examples of street art Goldrup offers in the article are fun, cheerful images that make me smile when I see them. Graffiti is not only unsightly — in my opinion it makes a stranger feel slightly threatened and vulnerable and that they are in a high-crime area.