Graffiti is one of the newest and most highly respected cultural art forms sweeping the nation, and the world, right now and we think it's important to point out some of the most iconic 'street museums' throughout the country, giving students a fresh option for cultural, historical, and culturally-based educational field trips.
What was once considered to be a form of vandalism is today held in regards to renowned cultural art, a newly accepted form of expression that thousands upon thousands of local, regional, and international artists are claiming their favorite cities with. Here are a few of our favorites. . .
- Los Angeles, California
For truly diverse cultural street art that never ceases to amaze, both locals and tourists, you and your group should head to L.A, the city that just only recently (2013) lifted their city-wide ban on urban art and/or street murals. Now you can walk the streets of the Downtown Arts District, SoCo Metro area, and even Mural Conservancy supported buildings such as the Hammer Museum and see some of the best urban art in the West.
- Detroit, Michigan
In 2010 Banksy made his mark here. In 2012 the Detroit Beautification Project took over Hamtramck. Today guests to Detroit can see over 100 murals on Grand River Corridor, 35 in Deandre Cut, and so many more in places such as the Belt and Market. Detroit has always been an impressively art-filled city, today’s wide variety of urban street art is no exception.
- Miami, Florida
What makes Miami so special when it comes to the art of graffiti? Wynwood Art District and Wall, that’s what. Miami is home to Art Basel each December, a massive gathering at the outdoor park that attracts thousands of interested artists and onlookers each year. Miami’s goal is to both beautify the city and express local identity, two tasks it is accomplishing very well so far!
- Chicago, Illinois
The Windy City isn’t only known for great architecture, it’s also widely known both nationally and internationally for its expressive community art, mostly referring to its several different public art projects! Here in Chicago, you can find several sanctioned public art programs and DIY artistic projects underway, especially within the Viridian Village!
- New York, New York
You know we can’t leave out of one of the original cities of street art and impressive and expressive graffiti, New York. The only problem with listing this city is we don’t exactly know where to tell you to start, with the Bronx, Boroughs, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan all holding seriously stunning street visuals. We can tell you that this may be the most impressive spots historically, however, due to the ‘father of street art’ Keith Haring working here and helping start the movement all the way back into the late ’70s.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The City of Brotherly Love turns out to also be the City of Murals, though that name may not be as widely known as the other. Philadelphia is another city that also saw it’s beginnings to street art in the ’70s, today holding the largest Mural Arts Program in the country. Community identity and economic revitalization are big reasons to keep the 50-100 yearly community projects going, not to mention the 12k guests that flock to the street showings each year to see something new!
- Honolulu, Hawaii
Another city you may not expect to be high up on the impressive graffiti list comes next from Hawaii, the island city of Honolulu. Honolulu is home to POW WOW Hawaii, the week-long Valentine's Day festival that focuses on arts in the form of live art installments and mural paintings. This is a global festival that takes place everywhere from Austin to Guam, but the Kaka’ako District here in Honolulu now has the flagship spot for the event and has recently landed several major sponsors as well (Monster, Southwest, etc).
ATL should be no surprise as far as really great street art goes, this city being many experts and artists choice for the number one up and coming street art city in the U.S. In 2011 a task force to end graffiti was disbanded, allowing the city to rise up again as a major threat in the urban art area, something you will impressively see for yourself if you happen to be in the King Street Tunnel area.
Outside of the U.S
- Sao Paulo
Some of the absolute best street art can be found in cities outside of U.S borders, different places offering completely different cultural contributions to the art form and making completely different statements in general. Sao Paulo is one of the places that we must mention on the list, the entire city full of witty political street art and treated as a giant outdoor gallery of sorts. Be sure to visit Vila Madelena to the west, as well as Beco do Batman, the completely covered and ever-changing street installation you won’t want to miss while here!
The absolute largest Street Art festival in North America happens each year in the French-Canadian province of Montreal, the entire event attracting over 1 million guests and going by the say-it-all name of Mural Fest. Here you can take in live creations, block party festival events, and several daily street art tours.