Friday, June 18, 2010

The Writing on the Wall.

We live nearby the area at which we are painting the mural. We live down the street from the Flying Squirrel. I walk the streets and think of things that could use fix up or repair. I collect things that people have left lying on the street and throw them out, recycle them, or make art out of them. There are things I love about my neighborhood and things I would like to change. I would like people who live here to have more respect for one another and each others' property. I would also like my neighbors to be friendly as I walk by. Also, as a visual minded person, I would like to see people care more about visual upkeep of the space. I see the community mural project as a first chance to make this change. I hope there will be more to follow.

I have been connecting with people who live in Corn Hill and the surrounding area by doing this mural project. I wanted this project to bring together the community, not create a divide. I want to work with and provide opportunities for people who live here to have a voice and a say in what goes on in their own community.

I see the graffiti on the walls of abandoned buildings by my house. I have seen where people have crossed out others graffiti in an attempt to outline their turf. I wanted the mural project to be a way for local people to have a chance to connect, not become further divided. I know how big the divide is from one neighborhood to another. I remember this from when I worked with youth centers in the city. I was told that kids are afraid to walk from one neighborhood to another, as they would be passing through someone else's turf. I am a recent transplant to the area so I am adjusting yet. The thing that I see is how much people are struggling here to mark the turf. I wish I could convey to people that we are all in the same boat. We are all struggling to get by, to make the rent, and to protect our homes. We are all in times of economic crisis. Hurting one another does not make this better.

I received a call on Wednesday that there was graffiti on the mural wall. My initial response was "I am not surprised.” I went to check it out and had a mixture of emotions. At first I thought "Well it is a community wall I suppose they wanted to be included. Maybe we should leave up what they had done". One thing I noted is that only areas painted by Ed or I had been marked, while the areas painted by the local children and local artists were left untouched. I might be a new face to the area but I am still part of the community. It is disrespectful to randomly mark the walls where others have worked so hard, whether that be on the mural or the recently repainted wall.

The people who purchased the Flying Squirrel have put up their own time and money to make this building a community space. A lot of time and effort has been put into renovating and repairing the building. In this project along with others who use the space we are trying to hold onto the history of the building to remember the past, acknowledge the present, and create a future there. I do not get the feeling that anyone wants to claim turf and push people out of the space. All are welcome to use the building and to paint in the mural but there should be a code of ethics, a code of trust and of honesty. I wish that whoever spray-painted the mural would appreciate that other people’s hard work and effort are going into the painting. The space has even allowed others to paint graffiti style art on the interior of the space. If you wanted to be included just ask.

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