If These Walls Could Talk

Who gets picked? And other controversial opinions...

Episode Summary

In Episode 20 I discuss the imperfect selection process of choosing a mural artist. Since I am already poking a sleeping bear, I dive into three other hotly debated topics: 1. Spray vs. housepaint, 2. Why mural art is not meant to last forever, and that is okay, and 3. Exposure gigs. I use examples from my book, The Mural Artist’s Handbook, to challenge the status quo on these contentious issues.

Episode Notes

This passage that I meant for the book was accidentally left on the cutting room floor: 

  1. Who gets picked

Deciphering which artists are chosen, which creative voices and perspectives are shared in a community is too frequently the result of an imperfect selection process. For example, street art festivals can gain city and building-owner approval for walls, but typically don’t have much in the way of budget to pay the artists. The art that gets made under those conditions is painted by whoever is willing to work for little to no payment, typically younger and less experienced artists who don’t have families to feed. Intentionally curating a diversity of voices is frequently overlooked in the artist’s selection process, especially on privately-funded public mural projects. One community I bid on a project for had brought ten large-scale murals to their downtown, all funded through private donations. However, nine out of the ten artists selected to paint the murals were either white or male, representing only a small segment of the diverse community. Private interest groups can be a boon to bringing artwork to communities, but ensuring the artist representation is well-rounded makes for more diverse perspectives and is vital to ensuring the artwork relevant to the broader community.