To some people, the term “graffiti” often carries a negative connotation of vandalism.
However, a group of local artists is instead using graffiti as a way to give back to the community and inspire an artistic revolution across the city.
Graffiti Park Las Vegas is a local art collective that paints murals at local schools and other public spaces as a way to give back to the community and show that anyone can be an artist.
Daniel Bulgatz and his friend Daniel Maloney originally came up with the concept of Graffiti Park after a visit to the Hope Outdoor Gallery—a public art space in Austin, Texas that welcomes people to paint on its walls.
“Anyone and everybody is an artist and we really want to help others find their voice,” Graffiti Park CEO and co-founder said while at Robert Lund Elementary School earlier in May.
Bulgatz and his crew of several artists were at the school working on murals in celebration of Hispanic and African-American heritage.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the majority of businesses and events to close for the past year, much of Graffiti Park’s recent work has focused on painting elementary and middle schools due to them mostly being empty this year and to inspire younger children to engage with art.
Bulgatz hopes that Graffiti Park’s work will eventually catch on and inspire everyone from advanced artists to young children who have never painted in their lives to contribute to their projects.
“We’re not specific, we’re not an exclusive club, we don’t tell anyone there is not allowed to be here,” Bulgatz said. “This is all for the kids. This is all for the community.”
Graffiti Park sees its work as community-based rather than profit-driven. The artists are not paid and they volunteer their free time.
The only costs that come with projects is for supplies, but Bulgatz said that Graffiti Park are typically flexible on pricing with anyone allowing them into their space and that projects are often already low-cost since they typically are already stocked up on paint supplies leftover from previous projects. Individual artists can also be booked for private commissions where they can negotiate their own rates.
“If we set money as the determining factor off from the start we find that the projects don’t go as well,” Bulgatz said.
Many of Graffiti Park’s artists feel the same sentiment about giving back to the community.
“When I was in school I really didn’t have murals inside,” said Graffiti Park contributor Israel Sepulveda while painting at J.T. McWilliams Elementary School. “Having these paintings here will attract more kids [to come to school].”
Bulgatz has big plans for Graffiti Park. The group plans on becoming a certified non-profit and eventually establishing a physical location in Downtown Vegas similar to the Hope Outdoor Gallery where anyone can paint whatever they want.
The concept for a physical location would also feature a shop where people could potentially commission any of the collective’s artists to paint anything from a blank canvas to a pair of shoes.
“I think it’ll set a culture catalyst that nobody has seen in the last 15-20 years,” Bulgatz said.
Anyone interested in booking Graffiti Park for a project can contact them through their website.
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