In 2006, a group of African-American graffiti artists began to make “pulp posters” on houses across the city. The idea was inspired by the graffiti of New Orleans. “The only way we can truly address those that don’t belong here is to create a new street where we are allowed to breathe the air of a city where the public lives and breathes,” says Kolec.
The city had not heard that it would go around creating these posters in such a blatant way as to be offensive. But Kolec says it turned out perfectly fine.
And this next group found work. In January 2010, they began showing up at the city’s Public Art Gallery in Midtown, where they did a series of public art demonstrations, starting early on the street. Kolec credits the two groups for giving them a sense of purpose.
“The first demonstration was so nice to see,” she says. “The second was really cool to hang and they all felt so important.”
It’s also important to note that the public art was not meant to be offensive. Many of the “protesters” had never heard of graffiti. They just wanted to make their place a little more civil.
The first public art project went up on May 8, 2010 at the public gallery. Its design was simple: one side of the wall is decorated with murals and other artists used graffiti, or graffiti. It was an effort to build a new street within a new space that was created by two black people: David Johnson and Jesse Thomas.
“If you look at any black city this is the same, with the same people,” says Kolec in a phone interview. “If we can just create something that people feel they feel important, that’s great. If people feel they can express an awareness of the fact that we have created so much different, we can do really good things for them.”
The second event, held on May 19 through 20, 2010, came a few days later, May 24 through 28. It was meant to show the different types of street that were being created and the different forms of street activity for both white and black people.
The show featured a variety of art supplies from black and white people. Artists used famous spray paint artists paints, brushes, paper, and t-shirts, according to Kolec but it ended up being “a one-of-a-kind experience.”
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