Exploring Street Art
You could be chasing street art in Morocco right now. But trust me, you needn’t go that far.
If you wanted to, however, you could book yourself a tour at Chasing Street Art. It’s Norwich VT resident Susan G. Brink’s next act, and a change of direction from her career in public health. It began with a trip to Cape Town, South Africa, where she became fascinated with the local street art. At first she thought she might just start a blog about it, but Chasing Street Art has morphed into a travel site.
She views street art as “a way into people and culture” that comments on many themes: the role of women, sports, and history. It’s democratic and accessible, able to be viewed by anyone and everyone, outside of the confines (and often steep admission charges) of traditional museums. The website currently highlights street art and tours in Morocco, where Brink travelled in 2021. She wants to focus on Africa; the next step is likely to be trips and art in Tunisia.
Closer to home, Susan and her husband Peter took in a recent exhibition of the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Following a tip from a friend, she thought it the perfect opportunity to stroll through the adjacent neighborhood of Northeastern University’s campus (photo, top) to experience some of its street art. Interestingly, many of the pieces she saw were created as part of a public health campaign around Covid protocols, like masking. (Click here to see more. Easily combined if you’re planning to take in Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories (reviewed here) at the MFA through January 17.)
At this point, images of Betty Grable dance in my head. If you’re looking not for closer, but closest, to home, head to White River Junction, Vermont to Revolution. Owner Kim Souza worked with the Hartford Planning Commission and Design Review Committee to establish a rotating public art exhibition. The longstanding Grable work by Dave Laro can be found on Revolution’s outside back wall. Work by artist Marianne McCann has occupied the space for the past three years.
Though it is oxymoronic, you can also take in some street art as an armchair traveler. And “street” may be too restrictive and literal a description. A three dimensional, enormous indoor mural project—120 feet long, 5 stories high, and 6 feet deep—is underway in Winsted, Connecticut, described by its creators as unlike anything else in the entire world (click here.) Portage County, Wisconsin is bringing diversity by installing murals by Filipino, Black, Latinx, HMoob, Ho-Chunk, and Queer artists. At the tip of Michigan’s “thumb,”artists are revitalizing a nearby rural area by illuminating and turning old barns into works of art.
(Photo, top, of Northeastern University’s Latinx Student Cultural Center and photo, center, courtesy of Susan G. Brink. Photo just above by Susan B. Apel)
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And in case you are wondering . . . Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.