JOPLIN, Mo. —
For local artist Linda Teeter, creating her images of urban graffiti was about experiencing and capturing a different culture.
Her drive to share the stories behind underground art became "Graffiti: Urban Art," a photography exhibition on display at Spiva Center for the Arts from Dec. 3 to 31.
An opening reception for the exhibit will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday in the Upstairs Gallery at Spiva Center for the Arts. There will also be a showing of "Bomb It," a documentary about graffiti, during the reception.
The exhibit, sponsored by Images in Tile, features images of street art taken in cities across the country, including Kansas City and Chicago.
She spent time with the artists, many of whom have mainstream jobs in the art world when they're not tagging walls.
"They want to be free to be themselves, and their message is done in graphics versus verbal," she said.
As with most street art, graffiti is meant to be ephemeral. A piece might last for months, incurring damage from the elements and time, or a piece might last only for a few hours, covered by another tagger.
"These are images that can wash off over time," she said. "I'm capturing a moment. I'm recording a piece of history. Many of them that I'm showing are no longer there."
Teeter said the central question of her exhibit is whether graffiti is art or vandalism.
"I feel a lot of people are going to say it's vandalism because it's uninvited, but it's really up to you." she said.
Teeter doesn't only focus on photographing urban landscapes. One of Teeter's images taken in New England has recently been selected by the AARP for inclusion in their 2014 "America the Beautiful" calendar.
The calendar also includes the four months prior to January. Taken in Weston, Vt., "Old Mill" is the calendar's October, 2013, image.