Here at the Wingnut, our privacy fence is less for privacy, and more for keeping Grits and Flapjack in the yard. With that in mind, we decided to add a purpose to the blank slate fence we had. We have now made the fence available as a graffiti practice wall of sorts. Anyone is welcome to come practice some art on the fence. When it gets covered up, we suggest that folks just keep on painting, covering it up as they please.
If anyone wants to do workshops for local kids, to teach them techniques from spray painting to stencilling, please let us know! Also, if anyone has any paints or spray paints or brushes etc. they could donate that would also rock! You would be surprised at how fast an 8 year old can go through a can of spray paint.
Graffiti is a means of artistic and political expression for individuals in a world where almost all public expression comes from corporations and governments. We believe that the very act of creating a public statement or art piece can be empowering, and that empowerment in itself is important and valuable.
We are also into the concept of graffiti and street art in general as an anti-gentrification tool. The presence of graffiti in an area can act as a deterrent to an influx of wealthier individuals who can be part of the gentrification process.
We are conscious of the fact that some of our neighbors care about the property value of their house. But we also have many neighbors who struggle with their yearly property tax bills, and many many more who rent their apartments and houses, and therefore will benefit if their rent stays the same or cheaper. Unfortunately, the absurd functioning of the capitalist real estate market is such that increasing property values ends up forcing out many low income people in a community. And in Richmond we do not have fixed rent, so gentrification is a really serious problem for many people.
Fighting gentrification is certainly a complex and not fully understood process. And we are not dismissive of the gentrifying potential of the white skin of many who live at the Wingnut. We hope that being committed members of our community, along with strategies such as our mural and our graffiti fence, might be parts of an overall strategy of resistance to gentrification in Southern Barton Heights. Its something we are pretty much constantly thinking about, experimenting with, and working on.
Here are some pictures of what the fence looks like now- keeping in mind that it is ever changing:
Apparently there are some VCU Basketball fans in the neighborhood : )
If anything, its colorful
Nothing brings down property values like graffiti...
P.S. anyone want to help us build a better gate?