An exciting and colorful show of talent was held this past September at the Graffiti Park located at 329 S. Main Street in Salisbury, NC. A crowd gathered to witness the 1st annual Graff Park Paint Jam, a music and street art festival benefiting Salisbury Parks and Recreation. Event attendees filled the park looking amazed at the creations of the murals that raised funds for park upgrades.
Abstract Dissent – The Organizer
The event was organized by local graffiti artist, Shane Pierce, better known as Abstract Dissent, who is taking over the walls of Salisbury one by one. Pierce credits Grievous Gallery, an anger and rage room where participants can smash plates and glasses against the wall, as the place “where is all started” for him. Ever since painting his first piece there, he has been a highly sought-after graffiti artist.
His work has become so popular and has been so well received by citizens that he has managed to bring together assistants and artists to support and spread all the work behind graffiti murals.
Pierce said, “I organized the event because it made sense, this is where my art took off, so this is where I should have events. I think it’s a good place for art because the public has demanded it. There are missing murals compared to other cities, but Salisbury has the right community for that.”
Funds Raised for Graffiti Park
The Graff Park Paint Jam featured regional street and graffiti artists from Charlotte to Salisbury. These talented artists competed for a $500 commission.
After a day full of painting, music, and good vibes, the result was more than promising. With the help and support of the community, organizers raised nearly $600! The funds raised will be used to extend the size of the small concrete wall at the back of the park to allow for more painting area for artists.
The talented winner, artist David “Cave” Arbaiza of Salisbury, said that places like the Graffiti Park are needed for the community. “I started painting in the park in the summer of 2014. This is how I was able to work on my style and combinations of colors. I think it’s a great place,” he shares.
After winning the competition, David said: “I didn’t think I was going to win at all, but after a couple of minutes it felt pretty good! It was great to see my family and friends support me during the event, especially my dad. I didn’t think he would come. He never understood why I do graffiti, but when he showed up and saw what I was doing, he finally did. After they announced that I won, my father approached me and told me he was proud of me. That made me very happy and sincerely, for me, that means more to me than winning the event.”
Pierce mentioned he was already planning the 2nd annual Graff Park Paint Jam and maybe even some other similar events as well.
Carol James attended with her friends and said, “This type of community activity shows us how much talent there is in the county, but also unites people, which, at the end of the day, I think, is one of the reasons why we make art.” On the other hand, Porter Stefurak, who came from Charlotte just to attend the event, said, “Salisbury is lucky to have a space where anyone can express themselves, no matter if you are an expert or an amateur. You just have to be respectful and let your imagination fly.”
Pierce boasted, “I have experienced nothing more than positive reactions to my Salisbury art. Actually, it was easy to organize this event with the help of Vivian Koontz, Event Coordinator of the Salisbury Park and Recreation Department. The rest was simply aligning artists, DJs, and support teams to sell.”
Graffiti Park History
It all started in 2014, when Downtown Salisbury, Inc. (DSI) hosted an event called “Salisbury Streets Alive” on the Fourth of July. As a partner, the Salisbury Parks and Recreation was asked to provide a fun, creative, and unconventional activity. Since they had been toying with the idea of building a large graffiti wall, they did just that! A 16ft x 8ft wall was built and a box of spray paint was provided for attendees to express themselves.
After the “Salisbury Streets Alive” event, the wall was relocated to a .42-acre piece of land in downtown Salisbury. The public art brought color and life to a once vacant, yet highly visible piece of property.
After being well-received by the public, the Historic Preservation Committee and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board approved the semi-permanent art and graffiti park. The completed park now holds 12 art walls and 3 expression rocks bringing vibrancy to downtown Salisbury.
Park rules encourage creativity, imagination, and expression.
The Graffiti Park is located in 329 S. Main Street in Salisbury, NC. Next time you visit, don’t forget to tag us in our social media posts using the following hashtags #BeAnOriginal #YourRowan.