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Brooklyn Street Art

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Wall Therapy 2017 Under Way! Local-Heavy Artist Roster Brings Spirit of Community to Rochester

Posted on July 27, 2017

With a theme of “Art and Activism”, the 2017 edition of Wall\Therapy is happening mid-summer in Rochester with local and national artists coming to complete murals that keep people in mind. More of a grassroots mural festival than many, this one works to deepen engagement with the community through new programming intended to connect residents of all ages. BSA is happy to support Wall\Therapy again this year and we invite you to take a look at a people-powered organization that continues to keep it real.


Aubrey Roemer, La Morena, Roc Paint Division, Sarah Rutherford, and Todd Stahl have already begun work with gusto (!) on their walls as the 2017 edition of Wall\Therapy gets into full swing right now in the city of Rochester in northwestern New York State.

Sarah Rutherford at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Mark Deff)

Begun by Dr. Ian Wilson a handful of years ago and joined by professional partner Erich Lehman as co-producer, the community level interventions of murals throughout the city have been a metaphorical analogue to the medical programs he has championed, including providing high-tech teleradiology services to underserved communities here and abroad. Thinking of artists as healers and artworks as a kind of therapy for a community, Wall\Therapy takes on a unique personality among the mural festivals that are currently happening in cities around the world.

Sarah Rutherford. Work in progress. Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Mark Deff)

This years’ collection of artists is keeping it very local, with a few exceptions from elsewhere in the US. Organizers say they are looking to deepen their engagement with Rochester’s communities through new programming intended to connect Rochester residents of all ages and all walks of life – including a new conference component. “Arts & Activism” will feature speakers and panels organized around topics like social change, community activism, and creative practice.

Todd Stahl. Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Lisa Barker)

No doubt many will be interested in the keynote on Saturday by Dr. Jessica Pabón-Colón, Assistant Professor for Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at SUNY New Paltz. She’ll be talking about her upcoming book “Graffiti Grrlz: Performing Feminism in the Hip Hop Diaspora” and she’ll examine how contemporary street and graffiti art movements have responded critically to the demands of the creative neoliberal city, with examples of works to provoke thought on the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

Todd Stahl at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Jason Wilder)

Over the next week BSA will be bringing you progress shots and finished walls in this community-centric, volunteer infused festival that merges the aesthetics of community murals with the influences of today’s Street Art scene.

Wall\Therapy 2017 artists include Aubrey Roemer, La Morena, Todd Stahl, Ian Kuali’I, Sarah C. Rutherford, Jess X Snow, Sean 9 Lugo, and Roc Paint Division.

Our very special thanks to photographers Mark Deff, Lisa Barker, Jason Wilder, and Thomas Flint for sharing their images of the action for BSA readers.

Roc Paint Division at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Lisa Barker)

Roc Paint Division at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Mark Deff)

Aubrey Roemer at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Tomas Flint)

Aubrey Roemer at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Josh Saunders)

Aubrey Roemer with some little help for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Jason Wilder)

Aubrey Roemer work in progress for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Mark Deff)

Lucinda at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Jason Wilder)

Lucinda at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Josh Saunders)

Lucinda work in progress for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Mark Deff)

La Morena at work for Wall Therapy 2017. Rochester, NY. (photo © Ted Wong)

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