Is graffiti treated like art?

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Photo Courtesy of: Levi Junkins

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va., – The National Park Service continues to try and clean up graffiti, but some Shepherd students like Juneau Daggs think it’s art.

“Art is a form of expression to communicate how other feel and experience life to others.” said Daggs, a junior and artist.

“Graffiti is definitely art,” Daggs said. “People put hard work and thought behind their pieces and they’re mean to show their creativity to the world, so I would consider it art.”

Shepherd University Police Chief John McAvoy said graffiti found on campus is photographed and researched to identify who is responsible.

“On campus we remove the graffiti as soon as possible after photos are taken,” McAvoy said.

“This reduces the benefit to the artist’s work being seen and makes it less likely for them to choose this location again.”

The department also will increase patrols in the location to discourage these crimes and apprehend individuals who continue such action, McAvoy said.

Lowell Markey, a C&O Canal Volunteer Ranger at Williamsport, Md., said he personally finds graffiti mostly in bathrooms and small buildings.

When asked how they clean it up, Markey said that if the vandalism is on plastic, they’ll clean it off and, if it’s on a wall, they’ll paint over it.

The National Park Service currently is offering a $250 reward for information leading to an arrest for the one who graffitied part of the Paw Paw Tunnel on the canal.

The structure is the longest of its kind on the C&O, which opened in 1850, according to the national park service.

The vandalism at the Paw Paw Tunnel, which is across the Potomac River from the small Morgan County, W.Va., community of Paw Paw, is believed to have occurred in March, according to the National Park Service.

Across the Potomac River from Shepherdstown, most of the spray painted on a wall along the walkway leading from the James Rumsey Bridge to the C&O Canal appears to be tags of people’s names and scribbles, but other parts are bold letters, quotes and illustrations.

It’s unclear when the graffiti was left on the wall, but Markey says the walkway is Maryland Department of Transportation’s responsibility, not the park service.

The Maryland Department of Transportation could not be reached for comment about the graffiti.