As a quintessential movement of the XXI century, street art’s raison d’être in the urban environment is deeply grounded in fostering the relationship between art and the community.
Wynwood Walls was conceived that way when those abandoned warehouses began to transform into giant canvases for all the people to enjoy. The shape of the art and its role in society is constantly changing and that’s something we cannot stop.
Existing in marginal spaces, street art functions to creat an unmediated connection between the artists and the viewers, but the inevitable gentrification of Wynwood questions the fundamental ethos of ownership, the process of creation and the ever-changing relationship between street art and the city.
This oasis of murals is no longer the backyard of Art Basel. That’s for sure. It’s actually an important part of the program nowadays. Even though, considering these developments, there is a sad paradoxical reality in the neighborhood, due to budget cuts and that is Wynwood’ schools don’t have any art nor music programs.
That’s how we meet THE RAW PROJECT in 2014. We wonder how can one of the most up-and-coming neighborhoods in the entire world have public schools that don’t teach art? Oh well, Wynwood is surrounded by low-income neighborhoods and most of its residents are minorities. Now the majority of Wynwood’s populations are tourists and foreign hipsters–like us.
The Raw Project is now a massive public art project which started at Jose de Diego Middle School with Robert de los Rios & Patrick Walsh. They created a new hope for the 600 students by gathering over 70 murals painted by the most important names in the street art: Paola Delfin, Pastel, Madsteez, Axel Void, Pixel Pancho, D*Face, Shark Toof… just to mention a few.
This year, the walls of the Eneida M. Hartner Elementary School have gained new life with some of the most beautiful murals around Wynwood. With the work of artists like INO, Kevin Ledo, Shepard Fairey, D*Face, Case Maclaim, Taylor White, Mr. June, OZMO, Marina Capdevila, A Squid Called Sebastian, 2501 and Paola Delfin put their work and brushes to make the school a better and happier place for the kids.
We are sure this project won’t stop and we don’t want it to stop either! Also, we can see this is just a small part of what The RAW Project could it be. The endless effort of the team demonstrates to be one of the most influential, genuine and meaningful events during the Miami art week.
One of the most amazing things after the murals were painted, was looking at the kids’ eyes and realize these murals have colored their lives not only with vibrant colors and amazing messages, the murals invite the students to gather around and enjoy something new. Some of them affirmed this experience made their lives better and they want to go to their school everyday. Sometimes, just a few brushstrokes have the power to give someone’s hope and new dreams to dream about.
Leaded by kindness and cooperation, the RAW project makes us to be sure art is and always be a powerful tool in the creation of a unified society.
Congratulations to Robert de los Rios and all the team at the RAW Project in Wynwood!