Graffiti may no longer decorate the streets and underground tunnels of New York City as it did in past decades, but it is not dead. The art form has traveled upstate, where it is very much alive and well inside a courtyard in an old building located in the Hudson Valley.
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In this hidden venue, high school students come to share their ideas and their talent with each other.
What is it about a blank wall or a derelict building that invites graffiti? What is the impulse that compels someone to decorate a surface with paint, knowing that it won’t last? Here a painting of a tree or an abstract design can exist exactly as envisioned by its creator, free from the constraints of assignment or critique. Here one can express anything because whatever is expressed is anonymous. And unlike a drawing on paper or a painting on a canvas, what is written here won’t last. This surface encourages unrestrained self-expression of the grandest kind.
This is true freedom — to create something that is fully one’s own precisely because no one else knows that it exists.