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that murals enhance many neighborhood walls that are bare, run down or ugly. hile Rochester isn’t the thriving city it was in the prosperous times for Xerox and Kodak, it is still a going city known for its colleges and its nationally known Strong Memorial Hospital and Medical School. The timing of the first three Wall/Therapy events come at a time when street art and graffiti have greater status than before in the art world. It is no long simply fringe “primitive” painting. Last July, 20 mural artists were on the docket to paint, and the people of the city were out to watch them as they painted from scaffolds and cherry pickers. Artists came from all over the world for the ten day July event. Many of the mural walls were in the downtown or inner city – areas which are less prosperous and full of cement and black top. Some walls were offered by invitation of businesses in neighborhoods where young artists, musicians and students live. Most of last year’s artists were born in the USA, but have traveled the world. Six of the artists were from foreign countries. Many of the women artists worked in teams, and there was a Rochester graffiti crew that worked on its mural as a group. Many artists came from the NYC area. The motivations and roots of these artists are so varied! Among the artists, there were two illustrators, an art educator, many who started out creating graffiti, two tattoo artists and one for whom murals are an invitation to follow her on a spiritual journey. Murals ranged from realistic renderings of human faces and bodies, to surrealistic dream murals, to simple but beautiful geometric shapes, to wonderful large wild animals. This year’s Wall/Therapy event will feature 11 artists and the emphasis will be on portraiture. According to curator, Erich S Lehman, a decision was made to invite all new artists to paint murals this year. Three mural artists are local, two are from Europe, two are from Canada and the rest are from across the United States. One of the differences this year is that many of the artists use aersol paint and want to elevate the use of that to a respectable medium in the art community. One of the artists this year, Caitlen Yarksky, comes from a background of doing comics, and her wall art reflects this. At least four artists have a strong interest in using their art to help communities heal. For example, Alice Mizrachi from New York City sees murals as able to spread empathy and compassion in a community. Another theme which will obviously emerge this year is that many of the female artists love portraying strong women. All Photo Credit: DAVID WALKER Alice Pasquini W TAE MAGAZINE 61

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