JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kalani High School art instructor John Nippolt, above left, helps students Danny Yeh and Kailey Mutobe with their piece on the Kalani Art Wall. CLICK FOR LARGE
TAG, YOU'RE ART!
GET a bunch of kids with spray cans, a blank wall and a deserted high school campus, and it's an ideal Neighborhood Watch scenario.
Which is what Kalani High School art students learned as they decorated a campus wall Saturday and were suddenly surrounded by police.
"Who called you?" asked art teacher John Nippolt, who was directing the kids in a school-approved urban art project.
"Who knows?" shrugged one of the half-dozen officers who responded. "We had a report of tagging."
"The principal already informed the police department," said Nippolt. "We know that tagging is vandalism and a criminal activity."
Officer Glenn Oshiro had a half-smile as he surveyed the colorful wall. He's the varsity football coach at Kalani as well as a cop.
"You can see this isn't grafitti, it's art," said Nippolt. "These kids have a real sense of color and proportion and balance."
"Uh, yeah," said officer/coach Oshiro, not convinced, but you could tell he was mulling. "I kinda prefer blank walls myself."
"Me too!" said Nippolt. "When they show off my artwork!"
"Interesting idea," said Oshiro. "I know the kids like this look."
"It's best when it's channeled in a positive way!"
"You know ..." mused Oshiro, thinking out loud. "Maybe the team's weight room could use a mural like this ..."
"Oh hey!" blurted Nippolt, scarlet with excitement. "Now you're thinking the way we're thinking. We all need art!"
» Grafitti as art. D2