In the news, we have been hearing quite a bit about art museums, art foundations, and educational programs supporting graffiti. It’s a conceptually hip expression if it is not your house that’s spray painted or your new car that is keyed. In a gallery you don’t learn the lessons that kids get, that one can’t rise up or have something nice without someone else breaking or stealing it—a message that is impossible to ignore on too many Philadelphia streets. In communities filled with billboards and graffiti, there simply has to be another kind of sign—one of hope. Between the propaganda of commercialism that tells people that what they have is not enough and the anger of graffiti that perpetuates vandalism and also says one is not worthy, there has to be another way. Something between “I have to,” “but I can’t.” A pervasive neighborhood depression builds as one wise old timer dies and the unguided youthful futures of kids’ dreams are sown in broken macadam. Letting people know what we are up to and how folks are helping because they care and they can. We can all be more empowered to make some change. WE don’t have to buy into the marketing and we can live without violence. Here is one of our signs below. Also consider reading Heather Mac Donald on celebrating urban decay.