After our conversation about gentrification and graffiti I wanted to do some research into the history of street art in general. I came across one New York artist who was popular in the 90s and recently made a resurgence. Adam Cole has been known to make the city his canvas, blanketing entire neighborhoods with stickers and spray paint. However, police authorities have repeatedly shut him down because graffiti art is thought to be a “threat to quality of life.” What I was most surprised about was how this use of police force to restrict artistic expression relates to the topics the groups working on Ferguson and the school to prison pipeline are researching. With a number of people in low income communities using street art as a form of expression and political activism, police were able to silence and remove these individuals because they were a threat to their community members’ quality of life. What is even more frustrating is that these communities were then left less occupied so that other people could move in and occupy the neighborhood. Here, police force was used to perpetuate the gentrification process.


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