Springfield community celebrating local graffiti artists | New

The artists worked for nearly 12 hours on these pieces, which they painted on the interior walls of Gasoline Alley.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – 16 local graffiti artists gathered for the city’s first-ever public graffiti jam sponsored by the Springfield Cultural Council. Western Mass News stopped by Saturday to see some of the art up close.

A similar jam took place last year, but it was private due to the pandemic. The artists worked for nearly 12 hours on these pieces, which they painted on the interior walls of Gasoline Alley.

The organizers tell us that the goal of the jam was to bring people together.

Music, food, everyone hangs out, ”said organizer Michael Pastoreck.

Local artists and community members showed up on Saturday for a live painting event featuring local graffiti artists, held at Gasoline Alley on Albany Street.

“Here in Springfield we have this great community of graffiti writers, so it’s an opportunity for them to come together, to learn from each other, to work together, and also for the public to learn a bit. more about this amazing art form is, ”said volunteer Britt Ruhe.

Ruhe runs Commonwealth Murals in Springfield. She said that although she usually works with murals, she is a huge fan of graffiti.

“Graffiti is one of those very rare art forms that actually originated in the United States. Each city developed its own styles, graffiti started in New York and started to spread everywhere, ”said Ruhe.

Ruhe said she hoped the event could help people learn more about the history of graffiti and dispel misconceptions.

“People tend to think of it only as vandalism, or they associate it with gang and drug activity, which is actually not the case at all. If you talk to a lot of people who practice graffiti, they do it to get out of trouble. They do graffiti to stay away from drugs or gangs. It’s something that allows people to be on the streets and interact with their peers while expressing themselves creatively, ”explained Ruhe.

This is a message that the organizer Pastoreck echoed.

“Graffiti is all frowned upon, but you come here and you see everyone having fun. It’s not just about crime. You know people think it’s gangs and stuff, it’s nothing like that, just people who do what they love, you know it’s a passion, ”he said. declared Pastoreck.

Pastoreck has documented graffiti in western Massachusetts since the ’90s, and he said the jam gives people insight into the process from start to finish. Marc Austin is an artist from the region and came to support the graffiti artists on Saturday. He said art can help improve the city.

“Art is so important and impacting for all communities, but especially in Springfield, which deals with many of the issues that we deal with. So I feel like this breakout is very important and needs to be supported, ”Austin said.

Ruhe says graffiti is about promoting expression.

“If you talk to a lot of growing kids, the only art they see is on TV or in magazines until they see graffiti. And you talk to a lot of kids, and they see that, and they’re like wow, look at that. Someone did, and it inspires them to start drawing, to paint, to start seeing themselves as creative people, ”Ruhe said.

If you missed Saturday’s event and would like to see the artwork, you can call the Gasoline Alley Foundation to schedule a time to stop by.

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