A young budding artist recently opened up her avant garde art show in a very small conservative town. She wanted to express herself in a public manner, while at the same time, bring a new spice to the life of the small town.
Part of her art show consisted of asking the visitors to her show to dip their hands in different colors of paint and sprinkle, splatter, or simply wipe their hands on the giant canvas she had made in place of a “guest book.”
The people of the town were amazed at her creative pieces and were inspired to embark on their own creations as they stepped up to the giant canvas with paint covered hands. From very young to very old, fingerprints could be found dotting, dipping, and streaming across the beautifully colored world that was being created with each passing day.
But what the young artist forgot to mention to her visitors–the paint she had selected to use for the giant canvas was a very special paint; it took a very long time to dry and was very hard to wash off. After leaving the exhibit, the townspeople would touch the doors of their cars and homes. They would touch their hair, their faces, and their kids. Spots and prints and lines could be seen all across town in ship windows, on park benches, and the sidewalks in between. And the hands of the townspeople themselves remained the vibrant colors they had previously selected at the exhibit.
Some of the people of the town grew very frustrated with the artist–for not warning them about the paint, and for not providing a way to wash off their unexpected ‘paint job’ on the town. One young boy, nearly 10, after walking through the artist’s exhibit, crept up to the giant canvas with tear-filled eyes. Inspired by the beautiful pieces, he slowly dipped his hands–up to his wrists–in paint, and gently added his story to the giant canvas. With hands still dripping, he walked back across town to his neighbor’s house, an elderly lady too feeble to walk to the exhibit, and painted his favorite picture from the artist’s exhibit on the side of her house.
As the people of the town passed by the house and saw the young boy’s picture, some saw the artist’s exhibit moving from a museum onto the streets of their lovely town. They returned again and again to the exhibit and dipped their hands up to their wrists in paint. They traveled to the places in town where paint was previously splattered unintentionally. They began to create beautiful scenery and abstract expressions. They dressed up the worn out parts of their town with colors and lines. As they continued to paint their town they began to notice not only the colors on the buildings and benches, but the colors on the hands and faces of those painting next to them. And still others only saw the boy’s painting on the side of the house as graffiti.