Public Art

Public art street sign installation, “Iris,” StreetWorks East End Public Art Initiative, Charleston, WV, Washington Street

Advocating for the arts on Arts Day at the WV Capitol on February 15, 2017



Public art street sign installation, “Exploring”, StreetWorks East End Public Art Initiative, Charleston, WV, Washington Street


Rhododendron sign installation, StreetWorks East End Public Art Initiative, AIDS Living Memorial Garden, Charleston, WV

LETTER TO EDITOR, Charleston Gazette, Friday, April 20, 2012: Art is not ‘graffiti’

Shame on Gazette for calling art ‘graffiti’

As one of the 10 “Pier to Peer” muralists who worked on the Interstate columns in Charleston last summer, I was horrified to see your reporter refer to our work in the first line of an April 16 article as “graffiti.” Our publicly commissioned murals were and are not graffiti.

As your copy editors could easily verify for me, graffiti is defined as writing or drawing illicitly scribbled or painted on a public surface. Most often, with the intent to deface, or to vandalize.

A mural is (certainly in this case) art applied to a wall, in this case a public surface, legally, cautiously, and with great care and consideration. Certainly, with the intent to improve and to beautify.

I trust the distinction is clearly made and understood.

The power of the press is sufficient that people read such flippant articles and wrongly assume that indeed our laborious efforts are simply destructive, “taxpayer-funded” graffiti. Truly, as the fourth estate, you do have a responsibility to have more care in the information that you present.

Working on “Pier to Peer” was one of the most positive community experiences I have ever had. Everyone on the West Side seemed to love it, judging from the encouraging comments, beeps and well wishes I and the other artists got from passersby as we worked.

If it isn’t art when it engages the entire community and promotes a general sense of well being, then I don’t know what it is – but graffiti, it’s assuredly not.

For shame.

Sharon Lyn Stackpole


With Charleston, WV Mayor Danny Jones and Charleston artists Megan Bullock, Rob Cleland, Ian Bode, Bernice Deakins, Charly Jupiter Hamilton and Jeff Pierson at the Peer to Pier Mural Dedication on Saturday, October 15, 2011.

PEER TO PIER Mural Project, Charleston, co-produced by the Charleston City Council Strong Neighborhoods Task Force, Lori Brannon, project director, and supported by The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Summer 2011.


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