There is little agreement among those who see graffiti as an art form and a means for social protest and those who see it as vandalism (especially when it’s done by “pesky teenagers”). People occupying the middle ground often say that whether graffiti qualifies as good or bad art is of secondary importance to where it appears. Teen advocates like Warehouse 21 and the Santa Fe Art Institute seek to defuse some of the tension by providing workshops and, perhaps more important, designated walls for graffiti.
Every Saturday, Santa Fe Art Institute hosts a free two-hour workshop on graffiti and street art (including poster and stencil work). The program is designed to help young people (ages 11 to 19) learn new techniques and explore “the connection between hip-hop culture and fine art.” The free workshops take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Santa Fe Art Institute, 1600 St. Michael’s Drive (Saturday, Aug. 24 and 31, workshops are at Santa Fe Place Mall, off Cerrillos and Rodeo Roads). See www.sfai.org or call 424-5050 to confirm venue.
Workshop participants might want to compete in Warehouse 21’s first annual King of the Small Wall Graffiti Battle on Friday, Aug. 23, from 5 to 8 p.m (registration is at 4 p.m.). The contest is meant to complement existing graffiti installations on Warehouse 21’s campus and to provide young artists with an alternative to vandalism. The cost is $8 to participate and $3 to observe, with a mystery prize for the winner. The event takes place at Warehouse 21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta. For details visit www.warehouse21.org or call 989-4423.