Thursday, June 9, 2011


Graffiti, or street art, in Dresden in front of the Militärhistorisches Museum

I know it's criminal, but I get a kick out of graffiti, the creativity that goes into it, the different techniques and the messages it spreads. In Dresden there is a long-established street art scene with a number of artists with distinct styles. It seems that in my home area in Michigan there is also a growing street art scene. Below is an article about some new tags seen in small-town Michigan. Before you read, think about these questions:

1. Is there a lot of graffiti or street art where you live?
2. What's your opinion on graffiti?

Then, read the article and answer these questions:

1. What do the new tags in Mt. Pleasant depict?
2. How many are there?
3. How can this crime be punished?
4. How can this crime be punished where you live?
5. There are, unfortuanately, some grammar, spelling and vocabulary errors in this article. Can you find them? Can you correct them?

After answering these questions, please send your results to A native English speaking teacher will correct your answers, give you language tips and send your work back to you. If you are a student with us currently, you can turn this in as a tutored exercise, if you are not yet a student with us, send us your answers and see how you like our tutoring service!

View the Morning Sun page (and this article) here.

NEW: Sesame Street characters tagged in Downtown Mt. Pleasant

Click to enlarge

Bert and Ernie have made their way from Sesame Street to Mt. Pleasant.

Graffiti artists have been tagging a number of areas including both the park system and several downtown buildings.

“It looks like someone is having a little bit of fun,” Mt. Pleasant Police Public Information Officer Jeff Brown said.

“From what I have seen it looks like a stencil but we don’t know who it is...We don’t have any suspects yet.”

Bert and Ernie were found on three different buildings downtown, The Brass Cafe and Saloon, 128 South Main St., LaCross Glass, 309 West Broadway, and at the Broadway Health Services Center on 114 West Broadway.

As inoffensive as spray painted Sesame Street characters are, damage has still been done.

“Whether you like it or not (there is) still damage to their building,” Browne said.

“They have to go and paint it so there is a cost to the individual who they do it to. Iif they put it on anything there is a cost to fix it and bring it back to the way it was.”

Browne understands artistic expression however he believes there is a time and place for it, the streets isn’t it, he said.

The tagging falls under malicious destruction of property which if the cost of damage is under $200 to fix it is a 93 day misdemeanor.

Mt. Pleasant Police are going on foot patrol around areas they believe will be target.

“Also our night patrol and day shifts (are going) to give extra attention to where we think it will go up next and hope to catch him,” Browne said.

“So we have our guys out looking, they are all aware of it. We have some areas that we are targeting and they may hit next.”

Browne is also going to be on the lookout for suspicious things, “Like a guy carrying around a Bert and Ernie stencil,” he said jokingly.

Mt. Pleasant citizens have had mixed emotions on the matter, with a majority of those who commented on our social network page not being very offended or upset.

“Wonderfully artistic! This street art has an impeccably classic art-deco style that focuses on true originality and the inner meaning of our favorite childhood memories,” Jalen Gilbert said.

Stacee Wright thought it was a lot cuter and better than what she normally sees on the High Street Railroads.

Brandon Bogart agrees, ”Better then pot leaves or vulgar language”

Not everybody however cared of the graffiti.

“Graffiti is graffiti, regardless of what is being drawn. As long as I draw cute and fluffy things on my crime spree, does that make it better,” Chad Hill said.

In addition to the police, park rangers are also going to be on the lookout for taggers.

Millpond Park and one of the river bridges have fallen victim to Bert and Ernie.

“We are pretty fortunate,” Brown said.

“Most of the people are pretty good about cleaning it up pretty quick. In my mind they are really good about covering it up, which is important. As a rule of thumb the faster you cover it up the better because you don’t know what they’re tagging it for.”