WALL\THERAPY, Rochester, United States

A public community-level intervention using mural art as a vehicle to address our collective need for inspiration, based in Rochester, NY.

The inaugural effort of the project that eventually became WALL\THERAPY brought four artists from South Africa – Faith47, DALeast, MAKone, and Freddy-Sam – to Rochester, NY in July 2011.

Dr. Ian Wilson wanted to give back to Rochester, the city that has given him so much.The inaugural project took place during July 2011 and was entitled “Visual Intervention.” Faith47, DALeast, MAKone, and Freddy Sam traveled to Rochester, NY from Cape Town, South Africa to plant the seeds of what would become a burgeoning mural program.

The trailer for BELIEVE – a short documentary which chronicles a first-of-its-kind public art mural project in Rochester, NY in July 2011.

This short documentary chronicles a first-of-its-kind public art mural project in Rochester, NY in July 2011. The project involved local artists and a group of four artists from Cape Town, SA.

In 2012, Dr. Wilson’s idea got a new name and grew to a week-long mural festival, bringing a group of 11 artists together from Rochester and around the world to begin painting Rochester’s walls in earnest. These pockets of inspiration focused on Rochester’s downtown and Public Market; later years would reach in ever-expansive circles outside of the city’s downtown.

Later in 2012, the German Duo HERAKUT traveled to Rochester to add a giant 5-story mural as part of their global project, The Giant Storybook Project. While not specifically a WALL\THERAPY mural, the team was the local facilitators for this mural.

Actively seeking to integrate artists in the graffiti and street art worlds, our muralists during the 2013 event included graffiti writers active in NYC’s scene in the 70s and 80s, including Daze, Lady Pink, and Smith, who would be among the first to bring this artform into the gallery world. Other muralists were among the top 10 reknowned street artists working today as well as more traditionally studio-based artists.

A History Lesson
In 2013, the majority of the murals were concentrated in two areas: North (El Camino Trail area) and South (South Wedge area). The Northern murals largely represented a look at the roots of traditional graffiti, including forebears from NYC, Brazil, and our own Rochester.

The New Breed
Moving south of downtown Rochester, the majority of the muralists working in and around the South Wedge neighborhood tended to be younger or local artists, many current leaders in the public mural movement.

A number of artists joined us after our July 2013 event to continue adding murals throughout the city. This expanded grouping of visitors became affectionately known as FALL\THERAPY.

The Writes of Spring was a weekend event that ran April 24-28, 2014, bringing together a small group of artists who focus on typography in their work, ranging from traditional graffiti to blackletter calligraphy.

The curatorial focus for the July 2014 event was on portraiture, populating our city with larger-than-life representations of the human form, reminding us that our project is always about people.

Added during our yearly WALL\THERAPY fundraiser in May, Mr. Prvrt added a grizzly bear to the Rochester Public Market.

Freedom joined us earliy in 2014 to add two more murals to his ongoing series in our abandoned subway, bringing the total to four murals.

We also welcome traveling muralists throughout the year outside of our organized events. Muralists will join us for just a few short days or for extended periods of time.