Arts festivals have a proud tradition of bringing creative expression directly to people on the street. When you talk about graffiti and Street Art you normally focus on the singular Street Artist who deigns their location and manner of display in the urban environment. But sometimes the display is collective and the planning and execution is actually a curatorial exercise with community arts leaders.
The ancient Greeks had the “Great Dionysia” spring art festival in April in Athens with tragedies of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Queen Victoria famously opened the Great Exhibition in 1851 that might have launched hundreds of cultural fairs world wide since. Chicago has had the 57th Street Art Fair since 1948 that showcases original work and benefits the artists directly.
At any given moment there is a non-profit, public, or private cultural institution planning some sort of foray into the public sphere with the arts – sometimes with the full or tacit agreement of the community and often with it’s ignorance.
Street Artist JAZ getting up in Richmond, Virginia in this still from a video for the G40 summit (below).
And of course Street Art festivals have been running hard around the world in the last decade including Fame in Italy, Nuart in Norway, Cans in London, the stencil festival in Melbourne … the list continues to grow. Recently in the US we’ve been seeing Living Walls pop up in Atlanta and Albany, Open Walls in Baltimore and today we’re looking at the town of Richmond, Virginia, which is currently being installed with new work by Street Artists from around the world for the G40.
(Click image to enlarge map, courtesy Richmond.com)
The G40 Art Summit is marking its third edition and they will offer exposure to new faces in the Street Art scene and others to an audience who may never have heard of any of them, and that’s the point. For this year’s edition their focus is on “The Art of the Mural”. Art Whino, the creators and organizers have invited a handful of international Street Artists to participate.
Besides giving exposure to the artists, Art Whino explains in their press release how they hope to help the city:
“By inviting 12 of the top mural artists from around the globe to unleash their creativity to 20 large scale walls throughout Richmond, this project is sure to put the city on the map as a street art destination”.
As local art writer Christina Newton explains on Richmond.com the importance of programs like this in the public sphere ultimately goes to the average person on the street, “As many opportunities to experience art as there are in a city the size of Richmond, some will unfortunately never venture into a gallery because they think they don’t know enough about art or are shy about venturing into a space they have never been. Public art is important because it can more easily reach a broad audience, not to mention have the ability to move people out of their comfort zone, open our eyes and minds to something new, and beautify our environment.”
Artists included in the G40 this year are:
Jacopo Ceccarelli aka 2501, Italy, Angry Woebots – California, Aryz – Spain, El Mac – California, Gaia – New York, , Jaz – Argentina, Jesse Smith – Virginia, La Pandilla – Puerto Rico, Lelo – Brazil, London Police – UK, Pixel Pancho – Italy, Roa – Belgian and Scribe – Kansas City.
Here some examples of work on the street by some of the artist captured by Jaime Rojo.
El Mac (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gaia (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jaz (photo @ Jaime Rojo)
La Pandilla (photo @ Jaime Rojo)
The London Police (photo @ Jaime Rojo)
Pixel Pancho (photo @ Jaime Rojo)
ROA (photo @ Jaime Rojo)
For further information regarding the G40 Summit click here.
For further information regarding Art Whino Gallery click here.