In any discussion about the value of street art, the value to the community is normally mentioned. Advocates of street art will explain how it enhances the community and is created for them to appreciate, and critics will explain how street art is the product of criminal activity encouraging further crime and hurting the community. The focus on street art’s purpose and effects on the community makes me wonder, does street art belong to the general public then? If an artist creates pieces in public locations for passerbys to view, is the artist giving it away to those people as you would give away a gift? Assuming the community owns the art, all members of the community should have a say in whether that art is acceptable and desirable to them—especially in an area designated for community use and enjoyment, like a skate park.
However, the idea that street art belongs to the community is challenged when you consider advertising posters. The purpose of ads, like street art, is to be observed by the public. They send a message to encourage consumers to purchase a product or service. While the target audience is the community, the advertisers maintain ownership of the work.