From Street Art to Mural Arts: A Legal Outlet for Art Expression

Street art is a form of artistic expression that emerged in the late 20th century and has since become a global phenomenon. It is an art form that is characterized by its unconventional nature, its temporary existence, and its use of public spaces. The history and origin of street art are intertwined with the social, political, and cultural events of the time. This essay will explore the history and origin of street art, and how it gave birth to mural arts programs around the United States.

The term “street art” refers to a broad range of artistic expressions that are created in public spaces. Street art includes graffiti, murals, stickers, stencil art, and installations. The origins of street art can be traced back to the early 20th century, when political posters and propaganda were used to communicate political messages to the masses. In the 1960s and 1970s, graffiti emerged as a form of artistic expression in urban areas, particularly in New York City. Graffiti writers used spray paint to create intricate lettering and images on buildings, walls, and subway trains.

However, street art as we know it today really began to take shape in the 1980s. Artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring began to create street art that was not only visually stunning, but also carried social and political messages. Basquiat and Haring used their art to address issues such as racism, poverty, and inequality. They believed that art should be accessible to everyone, not just those who could afford to visit galleries and museums.

As street art continued to evolve, it began to move beyond the traditional spray paint graffiti and into other forms of artistic expression. In the 1990s, stencil art became popular among street artists. Stencil art allowed artists to create intricate designs with a high level of detail, and it also allowed them to work quickly and discreetly in public spaces.

In the 2000s, street art became more accepted as a legitimate form of artistic expression. Artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey gained mainstream recognition for their work, and street art began to be featured in galleries and museums. At the same time, communities began to recognize the value of street art to beautify urban spaces and to create a sense of community pride.

The rise of street art also gave birth to mural arts programs around the United States. Mural arts programs are community-based programs that bring together artists, community members, and local organizations to create large-scale murals in public spaces. These programs often focus on issues such as community revitalization, youth empowerment, and social justice.

One of the earliest and most well-known mural arts programs is the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, which began in 1984. The program was started to combat graffiti in the city and to give local artists a platform to showcase their work. Since then, the program has grown to become the largest public art program in the United States, with over 4,000 murals created throughout the city.

Tribute To Jackie Robinson:  David McShane. 2803 N. Broad Street

Tribute To Jackie Robinson: David McShane. 2803 N. Broad Street

Other cities, such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, have also established successful mural arts programs. These programs have helped to transform blighted areas into vibrant, culturally rich neighborhoods. They have also provided opportunities for local artists to showcase their work and to make a positive impact on their communities.

Street art has come a long way from its origins as a form of political protest. Today, it is a recognized art form that has the power to inspire, provoke, and transform communities!

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