Concrete Canvas Mural Fest changes 11 mural wall in Artivity on The Green

by Pat Berryhill

Artivity on The Green is the art park in Winston-Salem located downtown in the arts district. If you’ve been, you know words and photos can’t do it justice. It’s a place that retains the spirit of the art that is created there. When I entered the park on the evening of May 3, night was encroaching and the mural wall was blank, having been painted over in anticipation of Concrete Canvas Mural Fest 2016. Kendall Doub, Director of Public Art at AFAS and the organizer of the event said, “It was decided from the get go and was the whole intention of the wall. I wanted it to be an opportunity to showcase different artists and keep it fresh each year so there was always something new at the park.”

The original installations had been painted at the park’s opening celebration a year prior and were done by familiar faces in the district. I got emotional seeing the ghost of the lines from the previous work bleeding through the thinner layers of primer. I was uncertain if it would ever feel the same. It was like the muse had been removed. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I waited until midday on May 7 to arrive and the event was in full swing. Finks! was on stage and the crowd was gathered up on the grass hill. The movement of the crowd was synchronous and the energy contagious. It flowed over to the crowd behind the artists working at the wall and fed into the energy of the artists themselves with rhythmic movements of brushes and bursts of spray paint. There were 11 muralists: Jennifer O’Kelly, Dane Walters, Liz Simmons, Laura Lashley, Marshall Lakes, Hope Tranburg, Cheryl Ann Lipstreu, Pervis Heyat, Gina Elizabeth, Donell Williams and Mitch Cook. The musicians and the muralists weren’t all that was going on that day. “The Concrete Canvas Fest has merged such a variety of arts. Dance, music, canvas, muralists— we usually work in different venues, but today we came together,” said Zac Trainor, a local artist that is well known for his bleary, ethereal style.

The murals themselves evolved into a wide range of styles. They began with O’Kelly and her “Lighter than air sky ships” and ended with Cook’s urban graffiti that has bold geographic patterns and color. Cook’s work includes a trademark melting halo that is a throwback to some of his more spontaneous works done in the traditional form and realm of urban graffiti art. Mitch came to the project from Greensboro and was excited about being included, “This has been a blast! I think it’s a step in the right direction for making Winston-Salem THE city of the arts.”

Dane Walters, his work both dark and luminous, painted one of the more popular murals of the day. Dane has a style that is reminiscent of H.R. Giger, but with his own personal imprint. In stark contrast, was the evolving, flowing, floral mandala of Laura Lashley who said, “Today has been the first sunny day in a long time and I felt like with the music and atmosphere, it was the perfect day. It was meant to be. I felt like I needed to be here.”

The music was amazing, from Finks! to the singularly fantastic 1970’s Film Stock to the synthpop shoegaze dream state of Foxture, the cutting edge of music in the Triad was represented well. Interested in getting involved? All of the AFAS members and events are volunteer driven and Doub works all year to plan and put together the event calling it his “baby project.” He is very proud of what he does but not for his sake. “I want the article and the event to be focused on them, not me.” Artists interested in being involved must have a body of work and have worked large scare before, if not murals then on canvas. They can submit a portfolio for consideration to thatguydoub@gmail. com and those accepted go on a waiting list, first come – first serve. Musicians can submit links to video or music online. !


Want to see the wall now that it has been completed? You can go to Artivity on The Green both day and night. The park is open 7 days a week, 8 am- 11pm with street parking at 620 N. Liberty Street in Winston Salem.