My neighborhood is a bad neighborhood.
Well, that’s what people tell me.
I get it.
I know what they’re seeing.
The problem isn’t what they are seeing.
It’s what they don’t see.
My neighborhood is an art gallery, and I walk through that gallery everyday.
I grew up in the suburbs, where art is a crime that goes uncommitted.
Those neighborhoods were “good neighborhoods”.
The rules that made them “good” also made them the same.
The art that makes my neighborhood unique and alive is a deviance frowned upon by the pearl-clutchers of neighborhood associations,
for whom the wrong color of curtain lining is an offense against carefully cultivated uniformity.
In my neighborhood, the buildings do not wear a uniform.
They wear art.
Stencils, murals, tags, stickers adorn their bricks and mortar without the approval of neighbors.
Art doesn’t need permission.