Graffiti or art? Painted bird sparks debate at Lake Wichita

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - What's the difference between art and graffiti? What one person might find beautiful another person might view as a nuisance.

It's a debate taking place between those who frequent the jogging and bike trails off Lake Wichita. An egret was painted on the inside of the Lake Wichita spillway and it was not commissioned or approved of by the city of Wichita Falls.

"Well, first of all, I think that the person needs to look at the ordinances of the city and ask if it's the right thing to do or not because it can inspire other people to maybe put something up that's not so pretty," said Sharon Myers a jogger from Wichita Falls.

While Myers admits the painting is beautiful she still feels it's a form of defacing public property. She also worries the artist could injure themselves if they try to add to their work.

"Someone said something about it and I actually saw it and I thought it was going to fly off there for a minute," said Tom Horn, who used his phone to capture a picture of the painted bird.

The city of Wichita Falls will usually paint over or remove any form of graffiti within 24 hours but the bird has remained visible on the side of the wall for at least a couple of days.

"And maybe it might even encourage others to put some additional wildlife up there on that mural plus it really kind of enhances an ugly wall," said Greg Findlay, who supports local artists.

Findlay believes the city should allow more art to be placed along the spillway wall if it's tastefully done. It's illegal for any unauthorized person to be inside or on the Lake Wichita spillway.

Findlay adds he worries the art could encourage others to perform similar dangerous paint jobs that might be less appealing.

"I look at art, it looks like art. But at the same time why are they defacing public property? It's a hard call," said Findlay.

There's still no word yet on who the artist is and if he or she will face any serious charges if they are identified.

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