There’s been a lot of activity lately among some of the top street artists in the world that are worth mentioning for their truly inspiring models of giving back to local communities.
First, Swoon’s launched another amazing campaign called Braddock Tiles, a website where people can purchase prints towards raising money to fund a local ceramics studio/factory that will produce 20,000 beautifully shaped ceramic roof tiles. This community factory/space is located in a formerly abandoned church in North Braddock Pennsylvania. The first venture will be to hand-produce the 20,000 beautifully colored ceramic tiles needed to give its landmark structure a new roof.
The Braddock artisanal factory is intended for community gatherings, art classes, education, and skills training courses in an area that has been left behind in the wake of industry moving to other areas. They have lost 80 percent of their population due to the collapse of its large scale steel industry.
The site includes work by a variety of other artists who are contributing including Ann Messner, Brent Green, Dennis McNett, Duke Riley, HOW & NOSM, Natalie Frank, REVOK, Saber, Sanford Biggers, Stephan Doitschinoff, Zak Smith, and Tod Seelie.
JR’s Inside Out–The People’s Art Project
Parisian street artist JR, who won the TED Prize to help promote his Inside Out Project, continues his global journey of flipping the script on local issues and highlighting people within communities to bring about change. They’ve just launched an updated site www.insideoutproject.net that includes a map of the world and all of the locations where Inside Art Projects have taken place.
Recently, their Photobooth truck was in Times Square where people participating in Inside Out gathered to make their personal image portraits into posters, from which the posters will be wheat-pasted in the local communities where each participant lives.
In other parts of the world, several group action projects with Inside Out have taken shape. Here’s a truly beautiful action completed along the Cape Maclear bay of Mangochi, Malawi in May. The action’s message was to reveal the faces and stories of the people working on the frontline in Malawi’s food and fishing economies. They wished to highlight some of the challenges faced by these workers at a time of change in the country.
Last week, there was a group action in London at the Undercroft at the Southbank Centre, a skate park that is being threatened to close. The group wanted to save their second home and stated, “This is our creative space. Our space where we learn and practice. We want to let the world know that we love this space and it is special and unique to us. It is this space which makes us share, grow, communicate and be unique. We love our space. We love our place. This is our identity. This is where we ride!!”
Inside Out has plans to reach every country in the world this year and is currently looking for more countries to submit their group action proposals for an Inside Out project to take place. In particular, Laos and Belize are next on their radar.