Allow Me to Paraphrase: Reinterpreting Miami Street Art

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Title:
Allow Me to Paraphrase: Reinterpreting Miami Street Art
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Language:
English
Creator:
Mirabal, Elizabeth
Publisher:
College of Fine Arts; University of Florida
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Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.A.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Committee Chair:
Delacruz, Elizabeth M.
Committee Members:
Roland, Dennis Craig

Notes

Abstract:
The purpose of my research was to investigate the conceptions that nine select Miami residents have towards local street art. As part of my research, I conducted semi-structured interviews with nine participants. Although I guided our interviews using four pre-determined questions, I essentially let the participants discuss the aspects of local street art that were most important or influential to them. Additionally, I conducted observations of local works of street art in and around the greater Miami area, and wrote narrative reflections to record my observations. I recorded summaries of the interviews and my personal reflections in my online blog, accessible at http://lizmirabal.tumblr.com. I also collected a series of digital snapshots to archive the street art that I found on the streets of Miami. This collection of pictures may be accessed at http://www.pinterest.com/lizmirabal/art-in-unlikely-places-diverse-street-art-from-mia. The following paper addresses the findings that I made upon interviewing the nine research participants, my reflections about the diverse street art present in Miami, and my insights regarding teaching about street art in a high school art program
General Note:
Art Education terminal project

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University of Florida
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Copyright Elizabeth Mirabal. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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AA00025522:00001


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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 1 ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART By ELIZABETH MIRABAL A CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA April 2014

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 2 2014 Elizabeth Mirabal

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 3 Acknowledgements I would not have been able to execute this project without the cooperation of the nine research participants who shall, for privacy reasons remain anonymous here. I would like to thank the nine participants for taking the time to speak with me and share their t houghts about local street art. Additionally, I would like to thank my Capstone committee chair and member, Dr. Elizabeth Delacruz and Dr. Craig Roland, for their gu idance throughout the course of my research. Finally, I must acknowledge my parents for their lifelong support of my educational endeavors. Had they not taught me the value of hard work and self disc ipline from early on in my life I would not have develop ed into the ambitious individual that I am today. Accordingly, this Capstone project is as much their achievement as it is mine.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 4 ABSTRACT OF CAPSTONE PROJECT PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF TH E REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART By ELIZABETH MIRABAL April 2014 Chair: Elizabeth Delacruz Committee Member: Dennis Craig Roland Major: Art Education Abstract The purpose of my research was to investigate the conceptions that nine select Miami residents have towards local street art. As part of my research, I conducted semi structured interviews w ith nine participants. Although I guided our interviews using four pre determined question s, I essentially let the participants discuss the aspects of local street art that were most important or influential to them. Additionally, I conducted observations of local works of street art in and around the greater Miami area, and wrote narrative reflections to record my observations. I recorded summaries of the interviews and my personal reflections in my online blog, accessible at http://lizmirabal.tumblr.com I also collected a seri es of digital snapshots to archive the street art that I found on the streets of Miami. This collection of pictures may be accessed at http://www.pinterest .com/lizmirabal/art in unlikely places diverse street art from mia The following paper addresses the findings that I made upon interviewing the nine research participants, my reflections about the diverse street art present in Miami, and my insights regarding teaching about street art in a high school art progra m

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 5 Table of Contents Title Page ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 1 UF Copyright page ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 2 Acknowledgements ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 3 UF Formatted Abstract ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 4 Table of Contents ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 5 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 7 Statement of the Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 8 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 8 Research Qu estions ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 9 Rationale and Significance of the Study ................................ ................................ ................. 9 Assumptions of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 10 Study Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 10 Definition of Terms ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 10 Literature Review ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 12 Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 17 Subject Selection, Site, and Description ................................ ................................ ............... 19 Data Collection Procedures ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 20 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......................... 21 Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 23 Finding 1: Definitions and Attitudes Towards Local Street Art ................................ ......... 2 4 Finding 2: Location as a Factor in Understanding Local Street Art ................................ ... 26 Finding 3: Responses to Ownership Claims of Local Street Art ................................ ........ 2 8

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 6 Finding 4: Suggested Educational Approaches to Street Art ................................ .............. 29 Summary Across A ll Findings ................................ ................................ ............................. 30 Discussion and Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 3 0 Discussion and Interpretation of Findings ................................ ................................ ........... 3 1 Implications and Recommendations ................................ ................................ ..................... 3 5 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 3 6 References ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 3 7 Appendix A ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 40 List of Figures and Figure Captions ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 1 Author Biography ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................... 4 2

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 7 Street art has unintentionally made me a bad driver When I spot street art during my commute s around Miami I often stop and mak e last minute turns that le ave my fellow commuters in an uproar. The cause of my terrible driving is in part due to the art that reveals it self in such unexpected places. In my enthusiasm to snap pictures of often temporary works of street art I will often swerve without signaling into neighb oring lanes to document the art from closer angles. In a sense, these heinous commutes around Miami were essentially what sparked my personal interest in street art. Sometimes, when I was caught in the infamous Miami rush hour traffic heading north on I 95, I would glimpse to my right and contemplate the sprawling murals app earing on the walls of the businesses and warehouses in the Wynwood district. Did fellow Miamians appreciate the street art in as high a regard as I did, I wondered ? O r were they hesitant to accept street art as a legitimate means of artistic expression ? Did fellow Miamians make any distinctions between st ylized graffiti tags, stickers, and murals? In short, how did fellow Miamians perceive local street art? These personal inquiries were essentially what in spired me to initiate my Capstone r esearch about local street art the perceptions of street art held by local residents, and the relevance of street art to art education. In the introduction to the September 2013 issue of Art Education, Sweeney proclaimed rt that makes it a relevant topic for discussion in the spaces of art educatio Hirsch (2009) rightly declares that As an art movement street art resists objectification and ownership. Indeed, street artists question and often redefine issues rega rding private ownership by creating and installing artwork both legally and illegally, in public spaces. The publically accessible art created by street artists is no longer limited to their immediate communities As a

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 8 result of our access to online socia l media sources, it is now entirely possible to view documentation of temporary works of street art worldwide. This in itself contributes to an ongoing dialog about the nature of street art, and its place in local communities. Statement of the Problem U nauthorized street art is illegal. Due to the illegal circumstances surrounding unauthorized street art in Miami local residents might disregard varying forms of street art as vandalism of public property Because street art inherently denies objectification and personal ownership it is difficult, if not impossible, to collect and categorize it by art institutions. T his further exacerbates the problem of how residents understand and perceive local street art becau se street art is not subjected to the same manner or style of critique as other more established, trad itional art movements. Assessing the cultural and local value of street art is difficult because of the legal and critical issues limiting the understandi ng and appreciation of this art movement. Purpose and Goals of the Study The purpose of my research was to determine the conceptions that select Miami residents have pertaining to the local street art in the greater Miami area. I wanted to find out how select Mi ami residents personally define street art, what factors about l ocal street art they consider effective or ineffective, and how they rationalize ownership claims to local street art. I was also interested in the approache s that certain participants have for teaching about street art in a public school art education program. Furthermore I wanted to conduct observations of local street art in order to better understand t he personal opinions and perc eptions that the research participants shared with me. I kept an online blog and an online image archive as records of my in terviews with the participants, and as records of my reflections and the imagery that I found to support my

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 9 observations. My goal was to apply these research findings towards art education, and to determine insightful approaches to teach about local street art in a high school art program. Research Questions My research was guided by the following main question: what conceptions do Miami residents have about the street art in Miami communities? My research was also guided by the following three inquiries: 1. What beliefs and attitudes do Miami residents have about the street art present in their local communities ? 2. What role do local residents have in claim ing ownership of street art in their neighborhoods or municipalities? 3. What are some ways to explore street art in an art educational classroom? Rationale and Significance of the Study Riggle (2010) stated aesthetically, the masses through its manifest creativity, skill, originality, depth of meaning, and Nonetheless street art is often met with intolerance from some law making au thorities due to local laws restricting By discussing diverse forms of local street art with Miami residents, I want ed to better understand how the conceptions of these individuals were in part influenced by the local laws ab out street art, and in part by their level of exposure to diverse forms of street art. My desire was to apply these understandings into teaching about street art in a high school art program I believe that discussing street art with stude nts is beneficial because of the varying important social issues that street artists reference in their artwork.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 10 Assumptions While I researched local street art, I was guided by the personal assumption that it is beneficial for Miami residents to discuss the street art p resent in their communities I also assumed that fellow Miami residents m ight not share my own positive regard for street art, and that some people m ight actually equate this art form with varying forms of vandalism, such as gang graffiti. Essentially, I was driven by the assumpt ion that some Miami residents had conceptions about street art that range d from admiration to disapproval of the art form. Lastly, I was guided by the assumption that it is beneficial to approach the study of street art in a high school art program because of the interesting social issues that some street ar tists reference in their creative work. Limitations Although street art manifests in varying creative forms worldwide, my research was limited to assessing the perspectives of select Miami residents towards pictorial and text based representations of street art, primarily taking form as painted, stenciled, stickered, tagged and written imagery and messages I did not set out to achieve a general consensus of what the entire population in the greater Miami area perceive s about street art. My objective was to investigate the perspectives of some Miami residents to local street art. My findings are not transferable to street art outside of t he greater Miami area. Definition of Terms Street art is a contemporary artistic movement characterized by artwork that fuse s elements such as a ppropriated imagery, sculpture and performance as resources to reclaim public space for private or community ba sed needs or desires (Borghini et al., 2010). Street art is characterized by stenciled, pasted, or performed art whose meaning or significance is

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 11 compromised in the enclosed space of a traditional institution such as a gallery or museum (Riggle, 2010). Oth er equally innovative forms of street art may include knit bombing and sticker bombing; these terms describe the action of placing knit objects or stickers on public property (Buffington, 2012; Keys, 2008). Historically, street art descends from visual art forms like graffiti and DI s hip hop and punk movements of the North Eastern United States, respectively (Diederichsen, 2011). Unlike popular art forms like graffiti izes the visual image, contextual use 2013, p. 8). Street art in its varying forms may or may not be legal, depending on the regional laws governing the city in whi ch the art is exhibited. Graffiti refers to an urban art form characterized by stylized script that is scratched, painted, or sprayed onto a wall, typically using aerosol spray paint (Whitehead, 2004). Tagging is a social practice associated primarily with graffiti artists. It describes the action of marking an urban space, such as a public wall, with stylized script or with a sporadic message (Whitehead, 2004). MacGillivray and Curwen (2007) note that in certai n communities tagging functions as a literary practice governed by specific counter cultural rules and codes. C ertain practices offensive or confrontational acts (MacGillivray & Curwen, 2007). In developing their practice and considering elements such as audience, form, and context, taggers engage in a community practice guided by visual and written code s (MacGillivray & Curwen, 2007) Literature Review My lit erature review was focused on determining which forms of art may be understood as street art and on determining what impact street art has i n the urban communities where it

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 12 exists. Several of the authors whose work I consulted focused on defining street a rt as a contemporary art form, and on discussing the impact of this movement in reclaiming public space for varying public and private purposes. As I researched further into the subject of street art I was guided by the following questions: by which guide lines may street art be judged effective or in effective in provoking public interest and appreciation? What purpose does street art have in provoking dialog between artists and urban residents, and in beautifying neglected urban communities? In order to amplify my understanding about the ways that street art functions in urban communities as well as how it affects educational approaches outside of the visual arts I consulted the work of authors in disciplines such as urban planning, literacy education, and commercial advertising Because the purpose of my research is to apply my findings to art education in a high school setting, I also conducted research about how to approach street art in an arts educational environment. The following sources were inst rumental in promoting and invigorating my initial inquiry about street art. Defining the Indefinable: What Qualifies as Street Art? Defining the art that comprises the category street art is a difficult endeavor. According term street art does little to define the complexity of works that actively deconstruct preconceived generalizations regarding the public. It is work that is non (p. 83). McCormick (2011) counters attempts to generalize about Addressing the dilemma of appropriately defining street art, Rigg art is art placed in the street is also misleading as it suggest that street art is made and

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 13 subsequently placed in the str , and incorporates aspects of graf fiti mixed with traditional art media such as sculpture, stenci contrast, Borghini et al. (2010) define street art more abstractedly as a form of place marking that ranges from resistance and contestation to the beautification of public space. Street art, the authors concur, also appropriates elements from visual culture such as advertising, monuments public sculpture, and propaganda, but it stands apart from these popular or commercial art forms because of the typically ironic and non conformist messages it propagates. Furth er, the element of space and how it is utilized is integral to understanding street art. For instance, Riggle (2010) clarifies that street art is essentially art that relinquishes its meaning when it is removed from the street and placed in a more traditio street art, the artistic use of the street must be internal to its significance, that is, it must hus categorized because it resists being bought or owned in a traditional institutionalized setting, and its significance is intimately tied to its use of the street as an inherent artistic resource rather than as an alternative exhibition setting. In sup port of order to achieve significance, Borghini et al. (2010) compare the similarities between street art ponse to commercially or statist authors appropriated as place, where commercially noisy or entirely silent streets are reclaimed by a rtists for their proper owners Like commercial advertising, the authors claim, the rhetoric of street art is influenced by the social context from which it originates W here street art differs

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 14 from commercial advertising is in the transformation of mundane objects suc h as asphalt, walls bus stops, etc. into cheerful, aesthetically beautiful objects occupying the urban landscape. By marking these mundane objects with subjects such as personal logos, humorous symbolic characters, and subverted brands or images appropriated from advertisin g, street artists create an sic ] but also creating commu 120). As the authors concur street art differentiates from other publicly exhibited visual images because it seeks to question, rather than promote, commercial imagery and propaganda. Making art on the streets is not without its consequences, however. Schacter (2008) reasons that street artists es, and nothing to display but are incorrectly branded as vandals because in creating their art they reclaim public space for private interests (p. 53) Schacter (2008) explains that the iconoclastic citizenry stubbornly brands street art as vandalism because accepting it as a legitimate art form would than simply the stencils in public waterscapes, and notes that Schacter (2008) both reason that graffiti and stre visual pollution that must thus be removed instantly for fear of spreading throughout the city.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 15 The performa nc e and participatory aspect s of street art are also often unnerving. Hirsch (2009) examines how street performance functions as an act of resistance against domination by Hirsch ephemerality [ sic to street artists stems from increased surveillance meas ures that make the process of tagging and bombing (through stickers, stencils, knits, etc.) suspicious activities. In comparison, Lee and Chung (2009) examine the ways in which street performance functions as a process oriented art form whose meaning is e ntirely contextual and socially co n structed. T he authors explain that 32). By i ncorporating methods such as guerril la communications, public participation, and the element of surprise, street artists may use performance in order to challenge the objectification of art as a means for consumption and motivate participatory dialog in the community. Approaching Street Ar t in an Art Educational Context A distinct pattern emerges throughout the literature focused on street art and its connection to education: educators incorporate street art into their curriculum in order to give disempowered or underrepresented youth a voice They address street art as the means for students to of socially accepted norms. MacGillivray and Curwen (2007), for example, analyze how tagging serves as an alterna tive literacy practice for disempowered minority youth. They examine the ways in which tagging allows the taggers to: form identities in their immediate communities; use tagging as a way to transform their urban surroundings; and express themselves using s tylized

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 16 text according to pre urge educators to represent and Curwen, 2007, p. 368). Sim ilarly, Keys (2008) urges art educators to engage their students in a creative practice that evolves from the adolescent act of collecting and adhering stickers to school lockers, bathroom stalls, and personal items. Because many student s may already be familiar with using stickers as a means to express their interests visually, Keys (2008) surmises, they may greatly contribute to class discussions about the interpretations of the sticker images they find in their local communities Chung (2009) engages high school students in extensive discussion about subject matter presented in the stenciled art of street artist Banksy By allowing creatively, Chung (2009) sets up a safe, open environment for the students to inquire about, and formulate individual opinions about, confrontational street art. These varying methods of looking at, discussing, and responding to street art by emphasizing context and conten t correspond to Lee teaching street art to students. Lee and Chung (2009) clarify that: In order for students to understand how the post modern art form serves as visual discourse that communicates to its audience, it is important for them to investigate the kinds of rules and conventions within specific contexts that are used to define and

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 17 interpret art. Understanding art requires participation in the discourse within which the work is situated, gen erated, and disseminated. (p. 32) Concluding Remarks Varying perspectives in the literature about street art significantly inform my research. F irst I am guided by of street art because I believe that it help s dispel several c onfusing notions about which forms of publically accessible visual imagery fit the category advertising, and their insight regarding how street artists reclaim public space and initiate community dialog, is very interesting as well. Like Riggle (2010), Borghini et al. (2010) insights about the diverse conceptions and functions of street art help to better qualify the purpose of street art in urban settings. These insights about different forms of street art have thus proved essential in allowing me to expand and develop upon my own initial inquiries about the diverse definitions and perceived functions of local street art Methodology As the basis of my research p roject, I investigated the perceptions and interpretations that select Miami residents have about the street a rt in their local communities. Specifically, I was interested in investigating how select Miami residents defined street art and which factors abo ut local street art they considered to be most effective and ineffective. Additionally, I was interested in investigating how the perceptions of these select residents were influenced by the ambiguous legal status of street art in Miami. Last ly I investig ated how these select Miami residents interpreted issues relevant to ownership of local street art. In three specific cases, I also investigated how three individuals explored the subject of street art in an educational environment.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 18 I chose to conduct sem i structured interview s with nine individuals that I purposefully selected because of their employment or educational back ground, and their exposure to street art. Semi structured interviews are a method of gathering information about a specific situation from access to perceptions and opinions, they are effective for gaining insight into problems that are not immediately perceptible but that nonetheless cause conc 1). I guided each of the interviews using four pre determined questions that allowed for the research participants to expand their responses with personal memories, opinions, and ide as. My choice to guide the interviews with these four pre open ended questions in order for the interviewee to formulate and share thoughtful responses (see Appe ndix A for a list of the interview questions). However I adjusted the nature and complexity of the questions that I asked to each of the participants because each interview When I interviewed the t wo educat ors, for example, I inquired about their methods for teaching about street art with their students. Similarly, when I interviewed two street artist s, I inquired about the covert tactics and social codes that informed their creative practice. The insights shared by each of the interview participants significantly influence my research findings However, I make no claim to the transferability of the attitudes of these selected residents to the greater Miami population. Subjects The subjects of my study were nine carefully selected Miami residents. I use d the process of purposive sampling to select the interview participants. Purposive sampling defines the selection of participants with specific characteristics according to the needs of the research study

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 19 (Mor se, 2004). I selected the interview participants based on the exposure to street art that the individuals had attained due to characteristics such as employment, education, and artistic practice. Specifically, I set out to interview individuals who held sp ecific positions or fit certain roles that gave them a unique exposure to local street art In the end, I chose to interview participants that were somehow steeped in the art world To this end, I interviewed an art historian, a high school studio art teac her, a high school AP art history teac her, a high school student with plans to enter art school two individuals who identified as street artists, one graffiti artist, a gallery owner, and a fellow street art researcher. T he se individuals ranged in age from 18 to 62. With the exception of one street artist, the art historian, and the street art researcher, the participants are native to Miami. Research Sites With one exception, I conducted the semi structured interview s in public places that the research participants and I mutually agreed upon when we communicated via email I interviewed the two high school teachers and the one high school student in their respective classrooms. I interviewed one of the street artist s and the one gallery owner in two distinct Wynwood ga lleries, and interviewed another street artist and the one art historian in two distinct college campuses in Miami The only interview that I did not conduct face to face was with the street art research er; I interviewed her on Skype because she was out of the country. The observations element of my research took place in varying places in Wynwood Arts District, Downtown Miami and the Little River Business District I purposefully chose to conduct observ ations in these distinct neighborh oods because they are notable for their street art.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 20 Data Collection Procedures I collected diverse verbal and visual data for the purposes of my research. First, I collect ed visual data from my observations of people looking at and interacting with street art in distinct Miami neighborhoods. I recorded my observations of the art and the locals interacting with the art by writing a series of field notes that I then used as the basis for reflective blog entries. Additionally, I took digital snapshots of the street art that I found and archived these pictures in a publically accessible pinterest.com board (see Figure 1 ) Figure 1 : A screenshot of my Pinterest.com board Art in Unlikely Places This board is accessible at http://www.pinterest.com/lizmirabal/art in unlikely places diverse street art from mia/ I also utilized the caption space beneath the pictures in the pinterst.com to add brief notes and personal observations about the location where I found the art Third ly I collected the interview data by audio recording the semi structured interviews using a dig ital voice recorder Thereafter, I import ed the audio file into my computer and utilized it to transcribe the interview for data analysis purposes.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 21 Data Analysis Procedures As I conducted the semi structured interviews, I was attentive to the language t hat each talk is produced in a specific context and an awareness of that context is vital in understanding When the participants used a vernacular term that I did not understand, or referenced an event or occurrence that I had no prior knowledge of, I asked the participants to stop and clarify what they meant so that I would accurately interpret the ideas, obse rvations, and opinions that they shared. During each interview, I made field notes recording the impressions and thoughts that arose while I listen ed to the Thereafter, I analyze d the audio recordings carefully when I transcrib ed, and eventually coded, each interview. I follow ed properly analyze my interview data. Weston et al. (200) clarify data into meaningful segments and coding pertinent phrases in the transcribed text with short, descriptive categories (pp. 391 393). Accordingly, I began coding each of the transcribed intervie ws using the following four pre determined codes: personal definition factors ownership and educational approaches I used these codes to categorize segments in the transcript when the participants discuss ed their pe rsonal definition of street art; the factors about local street art that they considered effective and ineffective; their thoughts about who might claim ownership to local street art; and their insight about how to approach the study of street art in an educational context. Thereafter, I deve loped secondary codes to categorize emergent themes that I discovered in the transcript s The secondary codes came to include: repercussions,

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 22 location, social media, participation, and accountability. In addition, I analyzed the interview data by comparing These memos were the basis of the blog entries I wrote to reflect about recurring themes in the par interview responses (see Figure 2 ). Figure 2 : A screenshot of my online blog Allow Me to Paraphrase: Street Art Reinterpreted This blog is accessible at http://lizmirabal.tumblr.com/ In addition, I coded the pictures that I took of local street art during my visits to specific neighbor hoods in Miami. I used the caption space provided on my pinterest.com board to record these codes as well as the notes that I made about the art. First, I started coding the imagery using two pre determined codes: script based and image based. These two in itial codes allowed me to categorize whether the art leaned towards graffiti or tags as defined by Whitehead (2004), or more figurative, image based forms of street art, as defined by Daichendt (2013). Later, the codes that I used expanded to include: lar ge scale, small scale, figurative, abstract, promotional, pop surrealist, and characters. I initially formulated these codes strictly based on my personal observations of the local street art I found. As I collected further imagery, I added codes that

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 23 seem ed relevant based on the input of the interview participants. Finally, I compared and contrasted certain images in narra tive entries on my online blog, accessible at lizmirabal.tumblr.com. Fi ndings When I began this project, my goal was to investigate the conceptions and attitudes that select Miami residents had about local street art. Specifically, I was interested in finding out how they defined street art, what factors about local street art they considered most effective and who what they considere d their role in claim ing ownership to local street art. Additionally, I wanted to investigate some approaches to teaching about street art in an art educational environment. I set out to investigate these topics by interviewing nine carefully selected rese arch participants. My findings are essentially organized around the following four main findings First, how the nine interviewed Miami residents personally define street art. Second, how location is understood as a determining factor to appreciating and i nterpreting street art. Third, how the nine interviewed Miami residents perceive their role in claiming ownership to local street art. Finally, how two of the select Miami residents, both public high school educators, approach the study of street art in th eir classes. Finding 1: Personal Definitions for Local Street Art Each of my interviews with the nine select ed research participants began with the following question: how do you personally define street art? With one exception, the responses that I received to this question were very broad and inclusive of str eet art as an art form. Eight out of the nine intervie w participants confessed that they defined street art simply as art that exis ts in an outdoor public space, and that can be viewed for free by the public One of the participants, a locally active graffiti artist who goes by the moniker Pan PKC, narrowly d efined

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 24 but that you can get away with (personal interview, 01/16/14). By way of clarification, he cited diverse methods of mark making such as wheat pasting, sticker bombing, spray painting, and marker tags as variation of street art ou are probably doing street art (personal interview, 01/16/14). R Writer, another individual who identifies as a street artist, offered an equally broad definition : or I n interviewing the rest of the participants, I found that notions of legality were central to the way that each of the participants personally defined street art. Although the nine participants that I interviewed embraced varying forms of street art as le gitimate means of self expression, one participant in particular revealed a certain animosity towards graffiti as a form of street art. Jane (pseudonym ) a studio art teacher at a local high school in Miami, concedes that street art originates from graffiti However, she considers street art a separate, contemporary art movement altogether because she perceives that street artists seek to beautify, rather than deface, their surroundings. One other participant emphasized the difference between street art and graffiti Canela (pseudonym) a street art researcher who made a ful, and graffiti is more about letti ng the world know you are there (personal interview, 02/18/14). Some of the participants spoke more in depth about the varying art forms that could be interpreted as street art. For example, Alberto (pseudonym ), an AP art history teacher at a public high school in Miami shared his conception that street art could be

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 25 as well as art that is intended to exist for a longer scope of time (personal interview, 02/10/14). P ublic p erformances or happenings, Alberto conceded, could be int erpreted as forms of street art. Other participants defined street art in relation to traditional forms of art that are typically found in institutions such as galleries and museums. Michael (pseudonym), a current student at a public school in Miami gallery because street art is bubbly, big and really vivid (personal interview, 01/16/14). Another student was also careful to make the distin ction between art on the streets and art in the gallery space. Kat (pseudonym), an undergraduate art student at a local university in Miami, private s etting. If it were in a gallery I (personal interview, 01/10/14). These comments are reflective of a common perception among the nine participants that I interviewed. They perceived that street art could encompass diverse form s of art, but that it is essentially different because it does not exist in the gallery space. Only two of the nine interview participants offered definitions of street art that attempted to define street art within the context of art historical movemen ts. Gerald (pseudonym), for example, the owner of a small art gallery in Wynwood, defined street art as a subcategory of the pop surrealist art movement. He observed m any of the artist s and work to small canvases (personal interview, 01/11/14). Gerald essentially both the street art and the gallery art may be defined under the umbrella of pop surrealism. In contrast, Sunil (pseudonym), an art historian who teaches at a local university in Miami, objected to defining street art at all because he thinks th e term street art denigrates art that is found on the streets. He opined that the term stree and

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 26 used, means work that is somewhat on the fringes of official art history (personal interview, 02/20/14). Sunil in stead shared his perception that the term street art does not merit a definition because it already has many assumptions built into it. conceded in lieu of a that means untrained and somehow not par t of the official art community (personal interview, 02/20/14). These latter perceptions of street art were unique among my findings of how the selected nine Miami residents personally define street art. Finding 2: Location as a Factor in Understanding Local Street Art One of the more interesting of my research findings was that each of the nine Miami residents I interviewed cited the importance of location i n determining how they perceived street art. Additionally, each of the participants discussed street art and location in reference to Wynwood a gentrified arts district in Miami that is notable for its street art. Two interview participants for example, discussed how some street artist s achieved public exposure and status in the local street art community based in part by the location of their work. Gerald the art gallery owner, observed there's a prestige among the street art community to have a piece in Wynwood. To have a callin g card to show y our name, to show you were here (personal interview, 01/11/14). R Writ er closely parroted this opinion so obviously apprec iating eyes are going to see it (personal interview, 01/15/14). Some participants also offered interesting observations of the street art in Wynwood itself Gerald, for example,

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 27 observed that the murals in Wynwood reflect a running theme. Ge r a and the Wynwood vib e is created by the artist. One kind of mimics the next ff each other (personal interview, 01/11/14). However two of the Miami residents I interviewed were notable in expressing critical opinions about the way that the street art in Wynwood functions in promoting commercial ventures in the area. Canela, the street art researcher, shared her findings about how Wy nwood had been gentrified by the initiatives of two distinct developers. While discussing her research findings with me, Canela opined that the street art in Wynwood was inauthentic because the art was used by the developers as the means to stimulate cons umerism rather than to culturally enrich the local community. Sunil, the art historian, expressed an equally critical opinion about the street art in Wynwood. s be (personal interview, 02/20/14). The diversity of opinions that the nine Miami residents shared regarding the street art in this local arts district is reflective of how important location is in understanding how street art funct ions in specific urban communities. Finding 3: Responses to O wnership Claims of Local Street Art Claims to ownership of local street art for the most part baffled the nine Miami residents that I interviewed. Few of the interviewed participants answered d efinitively when I questioned them about their role in claiming ownership of local street art. Five of the interview ed participants conceded that ownership of local works of street art might legally be claimed by the pe ople who owned the building s or commercial establishment s that featured the art Alberto the

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 28 high school art history teacher, was one of the individuals who opined that local works of street art could legally be claimed as the property of building owners o what? I need to knock down that wall because I need to build something there. Does that not define literal ownership of it (personal interview, 02/10/14)? Sunil the art historian, agreed that arti appen (personal interview, 02/20/14). In contrast other participants opined that even though an individual might legally claim ownership of a local work of because street art is inherently out in the public realm. Pan PKC, the graffiti artist, offered an of art, but some brat can come and draw on it and now it is garbag (personal interview, 01/16/14). Canela dismissed any ownership claims to street art by the ownership because the wall is there and they can demolish the place, but in reality the art itself does not belong to anyone because we are all lo (personal interview, 02/18/14). Some of the particip ants also opined that street art belongs to the community in general because of its location in a public setting. For instance, R Writer a street artist, argued admission to see it, have to make proper arrangements or meet with the artists to go see it. You walk down the street and there it is (personal interview, 01/15/14). The general consensus among the

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 29 interviewed participants was that some individuals might legal ly make ownership claims to street art but that said ownership claims are irrele vant because the public has free, open access to the art nonetheless. Finding 4: Suggested Educational Approaches to Street Art Although I asked each of the nine selected Miami residents the same set of predetermined questions, I specifically asked the two high school teachers I interviewed to share their insights about how to approach street art in an art educational environment. These two individuals responded un animously by emphasizing the importance of teaching about street art in various historical and cultural contexts. For instance, Jane, the high school studio art teacher, confessed that she approach es street art with her students as an extension of pop art. By presenting diverse works of pop and street art to her students, Jane compares the way that they artists in both disciplines culture and make that into art (personal interview, 01/31/14). Alberto the high school art history teacher, adopts a similar approach and teaches about street art as a means to juxtapose the art of the Dada movement. He explained that many of his students dislike the art made by Dada artists, so he incorporates street art as a point of comparison for the student see it in a gallery, but is it not art? An d then they make the connectio n (personal interview, 02/10/14). Both high school educators revealed that in juxtapos ing the work of street artists with the work of artists from established art historical movements they established thematic connections for the students to learn about the art

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 30 Summary Across All Findings My research findings indicate that the nine Miami residents I interviewed have broad perceptions and attitudes about street art. They are open to accepting diverse art forms, from graffiti to performance, as forms of street art. However, they concede that some forms of street art are illegal, and in some cases, demonstrate a certain appr ehension to wards graffiti and tagging. Each of the nine Miami residents that I interview ed cited the importance of location a s a factor in appreciating and understanding street art. All of the participants spoke about the importance of location as a factor in appreciating and interpreting local street art. Additionally, each of the participants discussed local street art in refe rence to Wynwood, a gentrified arts district in Miami. Some of the participants identified how the location of artwork in Wynwood helps an artist achieve public exposure with in the arts community, while other participants discussed how the street art in Wy nwood stimulates consumerism instead of cultural enrichment. Few of the participants offered solid opinions regarding their role in claiming o wnership of local street art as members of the community. The general consensus among the participants was that no one had any serious claim over street art in Miami because street art is publicly accessible The final finding that I made was specific to art education. Two of the Miami residents that I interviewed, both high school educators, revealed that they taught about street art in comparison with the art of established art historical movements in order for their students to make thematic connections across two distinct art disciplines. Discussion and Conclusion As I have stated previously my research goal was to investigate what conceptions and attitudes select Miami residents have about local street art. Scholars such as Kane (2009) and Schacter (2008) discuss the way that certain urban populations perceive street art as undesired

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 31 forms of place marking, but I did not encounter evidence of a similar hostility to street art in the nine Miami residents that I interviewed. My findings indicate that some Miami residents exposed to street art in gentrified communities such as Wynwood harbor an appreciation for street art that is nurtured by broad, inclusive personal defi nitions of what street art is or may be. Riggle (2010) cited many difficulties in defining and understanding street art as an art form. These difficulties may be due, in part, by the significant legal issues surrounding illicit forms of street art, and the fine line between legitimate forms of s treet art and public vandalism. The nine Miami residents that I interviewed did attempt to make a distinction between vandalism and art in their personal definitions of street art, but overall there was some consensus that street art in the form of murals and other aesthetically pleasing forms was a positive element in local communities. In conducting this research, I sought insights about how to approach the study of street art in a high school art program. I was interested in exploring the conceptions that local residents have about street art as a means to target the misunderstandings that I assumed the Miami residen ts I interviewed woul d have about street art. However, my findings have led me to make other conclusions about how to apply the study of street art in an art educational environment Discussion and Interpretation of Findings Prior to interviewing the nine Miami residents, I s pent several weekend afternoons exploring the Wynwood Art District the Miami Design District, and various parts of Downtown Miami in order to become better acquainted with the street art present in these distinct neighborhoods. What I found during my obse rvations was that many individual works of street art in these neighborhoods were aesthetically beautiful and compositionally sophisticated but were very commercially adaptable like public, large scale reproductions of the art I could just as easily find in a Wynwood gallery. To parrot the opinion of Sunil, the art historian I interviewed,

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 32 many of the works of street art that I encountered in these gentrified neighborhoods felt decorative, as if their presence on the urban landscape was simply to make the businesses in the se neighborhood s more appealing (see Figure 3 ). Figure 3 : A mural on the wall of a commercial business in the Miami Design District. These mainstream examples of street art were markedly different fr om the examples of street art that I found when I ventured outside of these three hip neighborhoods. In areas of Miami such as the Little River Business District for example, I found street art that did not beautify its surroundings. I found these forms o f street art, primarily tags stencils and some stylized graffiti, on abandoned buildings, gas stations, parking lots, and other spaces where commercial businesses were not really thriving (see Figure 4 ). Although I recognize that some Miami residents, including the nine participants that I interviewed, might consider these forms of street art to be examples of public vandalism, I could not help but consider how far more authentic these forms of street art felt in reclaiming abandoned public space for private or community interests because they were not sponsoring any business ventures. It was refreshing to find evidence of uncensored street art outside of gentrified districts in the greater Miami area.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 33 Fi gure 4 : Diverse tags on the walls of an abandoned gas station near the Little River Business District in Miami. From my observations, I realized that the function of street art in distinct Miami neighborhoods such as the Wynwood District and Downtown has been changed considerably Originally street art was created by poor youth as a form of protest. However, as street art has become more commercially recognized and well known street artists have be en commissioned to make art in neighborhoods like Wynwood the street art in Miami has adopted another function altogether: to decorate the walls of yet another tourist attraction. Although I am personally critical of street art that is decorative and references no immediately identifiable social issue, some peop le might argue that street art simply as a type of decoration may be interpreted as form of community enrichment because it performs the same function as commissioned public art. It beautifies an urban area and remains publicly accessible to community memb ers. Nonetheless, I remain skeptical on this issue because I question whether decorative murals and other works of so called street art may indeed be understood in the same

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 34 category as non decorative or illicit works of street art. Indeed, this new style of art that is still publically accessible and traditionally hails from graffiti may need a better categorical term to describe the f unction that it has in enriching local Miami communities. Based on my observations, I do not believe that the aesthetically beautiful, compositionally sophisticated murals in Miami neighborhoods such as the Wynwood Art District perform the same function as the isolated tags, sticker bombs, and other street art in neighborhoods such as the Little River Business District. I beli eve that the street art in the latter neighborhood more closely functions in challenging socially accepted norms and reclaiming public space. Furthermore, a s an individual who has formally been educated in visual art and who is accustomed to discussing ar t in terms of form, content, and context, I was initially critical of the broad and inclusive definitions that the nine Miami residents I interviewed offered about street art. I was critical of the manner in which these residents defined street art as art that was inherently different from gallery art because it was found outdoors. At first, I considered these definitions to be very ambiguous. I was excited, however, that each of the nine participants identified the role of location in determining the funct ion of street art in enriching certain communities. I reasoned that these perceptions about the importance of location demonstrated evidence of a better informed understanding of street art than their personal defi nitions initially demonstrated because loc ation is so central in comprehending local street art. Additionally, I was responsive to the varying opinions that the interviewed participants offered about their role in claiming ownership of local street art. However, I believe that their perceptions ab out ownership indicate a minor understanding about the role of the community at large in c laiming street art as their own. In short, the nine Miami residents that I interviewed appeared to be very well

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 35 informed about certain aspects of street art, such as the role and function of location, and uninformed about other aspects, such as ownership. Significance, Implications, and Recommendations My findings about how some Miami residents perceive street art are significant to art education because they reveal some possible ways that street art may be interpreted or understood by future students. Both of the students that I interviewed, individuals who were pursuing an undergraduate education in the visual arts, were quick to point out that street art and gallery art were two distinct subcategories of art As an art teacher, however, I would attempt to dispel this notion of street art as a subcateg ory of the visual arts by teaching my students in a manner that allowed them to make meaningful connections between the art that artists make on the streets and the art that artists exhibit in institutional settings. In this respect, I really value the ins ights shared by the two high school educators I interviewed. These two educators explained that they incorporate street art into their curriculum as the means to juxtapose works of art from other periods of art history, specifically the Pop and Dada moveme nts. The implications of teaching about street art in conjunction with artworks from other periods are significant for my own work as a n art educator. Whereas before I would have taught a lesson to my students that highlighted common issues referenced by s treet artists exclusively I would now plan a unit around common themes referenced by street artists, pop artists, and modern artists alike in order for my students to learn about street art as a legitimate creative art movement. I believe that by approac hing the works of street artists in relation to the work of better established artists throughout history, my students would not immediately identify street a rt as a deviant category of art. As an art teacher I recognize that many of my students would come to me with diverse preconceived notions about what street art is or should be. By juxtaposing works of street art

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 36 with other visual art, I believe that I would succeed in helping my students to formulate better informed opinions and interpretations of loc al street art. Conclusion In the last few months since I started conducting research about local street art, my own personal perceptions of local street art have changed radically. Whereas before I would have scoffed at the journalists, scholars, and artists who commented about how urban developers exploited street art for commercial gain, I am now slightly more critical of street art whose function has changed into decorating rather than into reclaiming its surroundings. Al though I consider many of the murals and graffiti in the Wynwood area, for example, to be aesthetically beautiful and conceptually interesting, I question whether these artworks may indeed be considered street art because their function deviates significan tly from the subversive art that has merited the category street art. In my blog, accessible at http://lizmirabal.tumblr.com/ I have taken advantage of the opportunity to analyze certain local works of street ar t that I admire for the bold manner in which they reclaim public space. Additionally, I have reflected about the diverse opinions that the research participants have shared with me and how their particular exposures to street art in the Miami area have sh aped their understandings of street art as a contemporary art form While speaking to the nine participants, I realized that there were many generalizations about what street art is, and the role of street art in questioning issues relevant to ownership, e ducation, etc. In sharing my perspective about street art online, I hope to dispel some of the generalizations and help others formulate better informed opinions about the street art present in local Miami neighborhoods.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 37 References Borghini, S., Visconti, L. M., Anderson, L, & Sherry, J. F. (2010). Symbiotic postures of commercial advertising and street art: Rhetoric for creativity. Journal of Advertising, 39 (3), 113 126. Borghini, S., Visconti, L.M., Anderson, L, & Sherry, J. F. (2010). Street art, sweet art: Journal of Consumer Research, 37 511 527. Buffington, M., & Waldner, E. (2012). Defending and de fencing: Approaches for understanding the social functions of public monuments and memorials. Journal of Social Theo ry in Art Education 32, 1 13. Chung, S. K. (2009). An art of resistance from the street to the classroom. Art Education 62 (4), 25 32. Daichendt, G. J. (2013). Artist driven initiatives for art education: What we can learn from street art. Art Education 66 (5), 6 12. Diederichsen, D. (2011). Street art as a threshold phenomenon. In Art in the streets (pp. 281 288). New York, NY: Rizzoli. Institut national de sant publique du Quebec. (2009). Guide to organizing semi structured interviews with key informan t s (INSPQ publication Number: 1004). Retrieved from http://www.crpspc.qc.ca/Guide_entretien_versionWEB_eng.pdf Hirsch, T. (2009). Taking space: Subversive communication and expression in the city of fear. Public Art Review 21 (1), 20 23. Kane, S. C. (2009). Stencil graffiti in urban waterscapes of Buenos Aires and Rosario, Argentina. Crime Media Culture 5 (1), 9 26.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 38 Keys, K. (2008). Contemporary visual culture jamming: Redefining collage as collective, communal and urban. Art Education 61 (2), 98 101. Lee, M., & Chung, S. K. (2009). A semiotic reading and discourse analysis of postmodern street performance. Studies in Art Education 51 (1), 21 35. MacGillivray, L., & Curwen, M. S. (2007). Tagging as a social literacy practice. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 50 (5), 354 369. McCormick, C. (2011). The writing on the wall. In Art in the streets (pp. 281 288). New York, NY: Rizzol i. Morse, J. M. (2004). Purposive sampling. In M. S. Lewis Beck, A. Bryman & T. F. Liao (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of social science research methods. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage. Retrieved from http://srmo.sagepub.com/view/the sage encyclopedia of social science research methods/n774.xml Rapley, T. J. (2001). The art(fullness) of open ended interviewing: Some considerations on analyzing interviews. Qualitative Research, 1 (3), 303 323. Rattray, M. (2010). Something about a face: Itinerant post spectacle practices and the work of Graham Landin. Ars 43 (1), 69 84. Riggle, N. (2010). Street art: The transfiguration of the commonplaces. Journal of Aesthetics & Art Criticism 68 (3), 243 257. Schacter, R. (2008). An ethnography of iconoclash: An investigation into the production, consumption, and destruction of street art in London. Journal of Mater ial Culture, 13 (1), 35 61. Sweeny, R. (2013) Street art. Art Education, 66 (5), 4 5.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 39 Weston, C., Gandell, T., Beauchamp, J., Wiseman, C., & Beauchamp, C. (2001). Analyzing interview data: The development and evolution of a coding system. Qualitative Sociol ogy, 24 (3), 381 400. Whitehead, J. L. (2004) Graffiti: the use of the familiar. Art Education, 57 (6), 25 32.

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 40 Appendix A: Semi Structured Interview Questions 1. How do you personally define street art? 2. What are your thoughts about the street art in the greater Miami area? 3. Which particular factors do you believe make the street art in your immediate communit y effective or ineffective? 4. Who, in your opinion, might cl aim ownership to street art in Miami? Suggested questions f or gallery owners/ art historians: 1. What main factors do you believe differentiate street art from gallery art? 2. What main factors do you perceive to be similar in street art and gallery art? Suggested questions f or artists: 1. What factors or ideas motivate you to create art on the streets? 2. What special tactics have you developed in the process of making art on the streets? Suggested questions f or educators: 1. How do you or would you approach the study of street art in your classroom? 2. How is your teaching of street art influenced by the legal issues pertaining to street art in your local community?

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 41 List of Figures with Figure Captions Figure 1. A screenshot of my Pinterest.com board, Art in Unlikely Places ................................ .. 20 Figure 2. A screenshot of my online blog, Allow Me to Paraphrase: Street Art Reinterpreted .... 22 Figure 3. A mural on the wall of a commercial business in the Miami Design District ............... 32 Figure 4. Diverse tags on the walls of an abandoned gas station in Little River .......................... 33

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ALLOW ME TO PARAPHRASE: REINTERPRETING MIAMI STREET ART 42 Author Biography I was born in Cuba, but I immigrated to the United States with my parents at the age of seven. Thereafter, I was raised in Miami, where I attended public school and my first two years of college. In 2009 I transferred to the University of Florida and eventually earned my BFA in F ine Arts. I decided to pursue graduate studies at the University of Florida as well, and am due to graduate with my MA in May 2014. I have worked as an office assistant, after school teacher, and as an art teacher for Miami Dade County Schools throughout my tenure as a graduate student. After I earn my graduate degree, I intend to pursue a long term teaching position in South Florida, and I also intend to devote more of my time and effort into developing as a visual artist.