Street art as a means to “beautify” impoverished neighborhoods and attract positive attention isn’t a new movement in Los Angeles. It was known as the “mural capital of the world” for decades even when it was predominantly illegal, yet the city has reaffirmed and acknowledged that distinguished title by legalizing murals back in August of 2013. Since then, street artists (both locally and from all over the globe) have transformed Los Angeles into their gigantic canvas, creating an array of spectacular pieces which are as uniquely diverse as the citizens themselves.
Friends of King, a non-profit organization of volunteer parents dedicated to enriching education and fostering community spirit at King Middle School, has decided to bring that same agenda to their campus. “King has undergone quite an academic and cultural transformation to become a destination school for local families,” states Paul Yi, the chairman of the King Art Panel Project. “But the physical state is drab and bathrooms unclean, so ‘beautify’ is to create a more positive, clean and inspiring environment for students, staff, and surrounding neighborhood. We want the exterior to reflect the success happening within the school walls.”
This Saturday, April 25th, Friends of King will host their first annual “King Spring Block Party” at Thomas Starr King Middle School, which features the unveiling of a series of art 4′ x 8′ art panels by local artists, such as Shepard Fairey, and Kim West. “I was introduced to artists such as Shep and Kim and their, and other artists’, response was enthusiastically positive from the first contact,” Paul reveals. “It helped that we had a clear vision of the project, based on some murals that were done at Franklin Elementary. But the King Project is more ambitious in scope and artists involved.” Also contributing to the project are artists like Allison Caesar, Tomm Coker, Nicholas Gagliarducci, Sophia Gasparian, Billy Kheel, Candance Metzger, Geoff McFetridge, Miss Mindy, Carlos Nieto III, West Rubenstein, and Oscar Varela. The art panels were generously funded by the Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Atwater Neighborhood Councils. “This is the first of three phases, hopefully over 100 panels will ring the school.”
This free event takes place from 12 PM to 3 PM. Along with the beautiful art, there are plenty of activities for all ages. Live music from local youth bands (The Outlines and Fliptastic) will be performing, a pop-up skate park will be a place where kids can skate and also participate in demos from pro-skaters, and food/drinks will be provided by local business.
Don’t miss out on a chance to see stunning pieces of art and also be involved in the community, and support something positive and inspiring.