Monday, August 15, 2011

Living Walls 2011 Breaths New Life Into Atlanta

The second annual Living Walls Conference popped off this weekend in Atlanta.
The conference was founded in 2009 by Monica Campana and Blacki Li Rudi Migliozzi with the intention of putting the work of a very small subset of the population (street artists, graffiti writers, etc), people who actually interact with space, and people who spend their time in discourse about public space all under the same roof. One hope is to simply broadcast to the attendees a wide spectrum of ideas about public space, hoping that everyone leaves the event looking at the city, its walls, and how we interact with space differently.

This year's conference brought street artists from all over the world to Atlanta. There were over 26 walls that Living Walls conferences artists transformed over the weekend and I must say, they are all pretty impressive.

The weekend brought more than amazing murals, it also created space for discourse on public space, the arts, and community organizing.

American Friends Service Committee was honored to be asked to sit in on a panel that addressed Conscious applications of street art to develop, criticize, and better communities. During a Q&A session someone asked, "How can street artists and community organizers build better relationships". One of my answers to that question was, "It's happening now, thanks to Living Walls organizers".

The weekend also brought several film screenings and a pretty amazing party at the Goat Farm that was free and open to the public. The party featured a gallery of art pieces by Living Walls artist, presentations by Living Walls artists, an out of this world performance by Atlanta's own Backpockets, and a ton of great vibes.

On Sunday there was a film screening of, "Megunica", a film about BLU by Lorenzo Fonda, followed by a 20 mile bike tour of all the official(I should note that I've seen a lot of amazing unofficial pieces)Living Walls murals around the city. I decided to go along for the ride and take a few pics with my less than amazing phone cam. Those are the pics I've included in this blogpost. Please visit the official Livings Walls website, or better yet, the map of all the murals to see them in all their glory.

We've all experienced the transformation power of art. Art has the power to open doors in our imaginations, doors of new possibility, doors to new unconsidered perspectives, and in some case art can even change the course of our life path. It must be should be said that art has also had a key role is every popular social justice movement. Art and activism have forever been intimately linked.

American Friends Service Committee applauds the Living Walls crew for what they bring to our city and we're excited to explore opportunities plug into organizing efforts for the conference next year.

Tim Franzen
American Friends Service Committee

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