Date Presented

Spring 5-2-2011

Document Type


Access Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Ursula Bryant

Second Advisor

Dr. Delane Karalow

Third Advisor

Dr. Kate Gray


When artists choose to create art in the streets, they are moving away from the idea that art belongs in museums for the elite. They bring art to people instead of waiting for people to come to art. In this way, they are challenging the traditional idea that art is sacred and exclusive. Street art, therefore, presents a new kind of creative outlet. Street art seems to depend on raw mass communication that only the street can provide, but it is also rapidly morphing and constantly changing to fit new definitions and purposes. This study attempt to define street art and then to determine it’s most successful venue. After a look into the background, the study will then focus on a few key street artists’ personal motivation to create street art. This study will then attempt to answer the question of what value street art holds in the art world. An interesting question s arises when the validity of the street art is questioned. What happens when it moves into galleries and museums? Does it lose its raw quality when its location is changed? What impact does the location have on the message and effectiveness? From there this study will focus on how street art is viewed by the public, as there are many different perceptions about the purpose of street art in the public space. Outlining the four perceptions defined in another recent study, this study will work to clarify and examine perceptions of street art. The rhetoric of creativity in street art will also be considered, as street art has recently been studied as a form of advertising. With the aforementioned dislocations from the street to both fine art galleries and museums, to pure commercialization in advertising, the future of street art must be considered in a new light. Part fine art, part street art, it has evolved into an entity which, although unmistakably influences and is influenced by fine art, advertising, and public art, is separate form any of these in its pure form. Proposed in this study is a definition that true street art must be considered simply as such—fine art in the streets; concluding that both the fine art and the street components are equally important to understanding the purpose and value of street art.