Written by Jaime Em. | On the cover: Artwork by Dragon76
POW! WOW! Worcester celebrated its third edition earlier last month, bringing together over thirty local and international artists to continue illuminating public spaces across the city. It is one of many branches of POW! WOW! Worldwide, a traveling mural, street art and graffiti festival, originating from Honolulu, Hawaii. The festival has since exploded internationally, with iterations occurring in countries such as Taiwan, Japan, and Korea, as well as various cities across the United States.
Artwork by OG Slick.
As with many urban arts festivals, POW! WOW! Worcester seeks to create stronger community relationships by bringing vibrancy into a city’s public space. What is so special about this festival though, is its dedication to encouraging the younger generation of Worcester. Many of the festival walls were ones of elementary and middle schools, and their imagery was aimed to inspire the students to embrace creativity and imagination. These murals boast bright colours and illustrated characters, creating an easily accessible dialogue with both younger and adult audiences. This year, artists such as Jake Merten, Chris RWK, Dragon76, Stickymonger, as well as Montreal’s very own Stikki Peaches, graced the walls of Worcester’s schools, reigniting the student’s energy as they began their new school year.
Artwork by Jake Merten.
Artwork by Stickymonger.
Artwork by Stikki Peaches.
Other artists such as Ben Johnston, Adam Fu, and Michael Murphy used public space to open conversations with the public through the art of lettering. Adam Fu explains that his mural, ‘Choices’, is his response to Donald Trump’s nomination of Justice Kavanaugh in July of this year, which sparked public outcry and disappointment towards the American judicial system. Michael Murphy offered a personal anecdote on his Instagram when presenting his “Stop War” installation, describing the important power of art, which he was only introduced to in his adult life.
Artwork by Adam Fu.
Artwork by Ben Johnston.
In addition, some artists were inspired by their surroundings; on his Instagram post WRDSMTH notes that his alphabet mural, which covered the Worcester Public Library, is located within a 2-mile radius of where the modern typewriter was invented in 1843. The New Yorkers Rae BK and TomBob also sought inspiration from the city itself, creating characters around air vents and in back alleys.
Artwork by Wrdsmth.
Artwork by Rae BK.
Artwork by Tom Bob.
The third POW! WOW! Worcester was a third success, and has left the city more vibrant and colourful as ever. To see more photos from the festival, check out @powwowworcester and @powwowworldwide on Instagram.