EDITORIAL – School district 73 joins graffiti vandals by sanctioning ‘mural’

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

ALBERT EINSTEIN IS CREDITED with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

It’s amazing how often we ignore that advice.

Over and over again, for example, it’s been proven that trying to legitimize graffiti as a public art form only leads to more graffiti vandalism.

But, once again, Kamloops has fooled itself into thinking that putting graffiti on display on public property will somehow control it. School District 73 is the latest culprit to totally misunderstand the graffiti culture.

Eighteen students took part in a day-long Secondary District Arts Conference last week. There are so many good things that could have happened at such a conference. But what did the school district organizers do?

They engaged graffiti champion Landon Muzio to talk about “the theory and history of graffiti,” as the school district put it. Muzio has been promoting free graffiti walls as “street art walls” that theoretically reduce graffiti vandalism.

They don’t, but the City bought into it last year by sanctioning graffiti on a City-owned retaining wall.

So, at the end of their day, Muzio and the students retired to an abutment under the north end of the Overlanders Bridge to paint a big graffiti mural. That very spot has been vandalized with graffiti dozens of times and the Graffiti Task Force no longer even tries to clean it up.

Now, no less than our own school system has joined the taggers and vandals.

The only way to clean up graffiti is to get rid of it fast, not teach a new generation how to deface public property.

Another line comes to mind, this one from an old Peter, Paul and Mary song — “when will they ever learn?”

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7619 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – School district 73 joins graffiti vandals by sanctioning ‘mural’

  1. Alan Kuhnert // April 23, 2019 at 8:44 AM // Reply

    First learned about graffiti back in 1972 at UBC from a visiting professor from Philly. Back in the day the first ‘street artists’ only displayed their art in the most difficult places so as to draw attention to their work. Now anything can be defaced by the ignorant who are not artists but vandals. Last year in Vancouver spent a whole day talking to artists who were hired to give buildings in alleys around Broadway and Main some colour. Fascinating group of artists whose works draw attention away from the vandals. If ever in Vancouver pull up a map of the street art and enjoy a day of art.

  2. But it was vandalized a dozen times before and the City finally give up on the cleanup efforts hence the war on graffitis is not near it successful ending…or is it? I am confused.
    On the other hand I think we should wage some sort of war on the equally dreadful and ugly endeavour of landscaping with pebbles, gravel and a few poorly chosen plants which have become too ubiquitous throughout the City. Talk about an eyesore!

  3. Barry Baker // April 23, 2019 at 4:43 AM // Reply

    Shades of Memorial Arena, Mel!

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