This summer: Murals in Binghamton

A perfect storm is gathering and all the elements are aligning for what may be one of the most intriguing and exciting summers that Binghamton has ever seen.

For several years, a group of local people of all ages, who call themselves the DPA (Department of Public Art) have been planning for the time when all the forces are right, and it appears that the time is this spring and summer.

On a parallel plane, a group of students at Binghamton University have also been planning to create dynamic and exciting art for the public. These two groups will converge on the 26th of March at 7pm at the Cooperative Gallery to share and plan for this exciting time.

ManOne, a graffiti and mural artist is coming to Binghamton University campus on March 25th the old Union Hall to talk about how he helped transform downtown LA with his art. The Department of Public Art has asked that he join in the meeting on the 26th share their common goal.

The DPA has been working with New Zealand mural artist Bruce Grieg, who has conducted several airbrush workshops to prepare local artists for mural art. Bruce was also the recipient of 3 grants from the city of Binghamton for work that will soon begin in downtown.

And to show that all the forces are aligned, the City Council of Binghamton has just passed a resolution to form a Public Art Advisory Board, which will take part in the approval process for public art in Binghamton in the future. The Broome County Arts Council is also helping with funding for one of the planned murals and the Chenango County Arts Council funded last summer’s workshop at the Boscov’s Parking Ramp that trained twelve local artists in the airbrush techniques.

For those of you who may be skeptical of murals and/or graffiti art, please look around the world to see what is now happening with this art form. Cities in Norway and Italy, Brazil and Australia have had an influx of tourists who come to look at their art. Philadelphia has such a wonderful program that it is now having bus tours of their city’s murals. Blighted areas have been transformed and the city’s youth have been engaged in making murals.

Visitors spend millions of dollars in hotels, restaurants and other businesses and the cities not only reap the financial rewards but the local citizens get to enjoy the art on their way to work, taking a walk in their neighborhood and on their drive home. Areas of the city are transformed by art through a sense of self- worth and identity.

And some of the most beautiful and exciting art is being created around the world by artists such as Swoon, Banksy, Blek Le Rat, Risk, David Choe, Phlegm, Blu, Lucy McLaughlan, Espo, Saber, JR and the list goes on and on. Take time to look them up and see what is out there. You will be amazed.

So hang on, a storm is coming to Binghamton too and it’s sure to blow you away! JS

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