A few months ago on a gorgeous Spring day a young woman hurriedly entered our gallery door. She quickly exclaimed, “Where are the buildings with the graffiti?” and ran out after hearing the short directions. At the time it stuck me as such an ironic request; entering into our beautiful gallery, with gorgeous works of art and asking where the art was. Collectively our pieces are classic and gorgeous, polished and yet organic in their beauty. At the time I thought, “How could someone ignore the gorgeous art in front of them in order to run out to see spray paint on buildings?”
Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved taking breaks behind our building, meandering through the giant graffiti letters and truly tasteful representations of the female form painted on our neighboring buildings. Yet it continued to strike me- her rush had caused her to miss the beauty that was right in front of her. I have a tendency to do the same. Sometimes I do not slow down enough to appreciate the art that is right in front of me. I rush past amazing things to see what I am focused on- missing unexpected beauty in the process.
Last May, a group of street artists participated in an annual event called “Burners & BBQ.” This music and art festival gathered over 50 artist to participate in a transformation of the abandoned warehouse next to Riverview Station. Being out of town as the festival took place I was delighted to come back to new work that had spread down my historically drab commute. The artwork on our neighboring buildings and 18 wheelers has exploded. The walls are now filled with samurais, modern-looking textures, illustrations of food, and more picturesque women. The back doors of the immobile 18 wheelers served as perfect canvases for these artists. My personal favorite painting is a grouping of bees created by Matthew Willey of The Good of the Hive Initiative. It has been exciting to explore these new works as I stretch my legs and take breaks from the wheel.
A few months after my encounter with that young woman I am struck by something new; it is such a beautiful thing that we co-exist in this quirky little space down by the river in Asheville. The glassblowers and basket makers, the sculptors and knitters, the potters and graffiti artists making and showing our work together. These street pieces are a beautiful reminder to me that art takes so many forms it can barely be defined, and that there is room for all of our creative energies and skills to being appreciated.