>>Though a three letter word, art has the profound power to move and ignite. Without limitations or parameters, its reach is vast and its impact expansive. Finding its way onto walls, sidewalks, and everywhere in between, art can arise in unexpected places. With the sides of buildings or underpasses serving as canvases, full cities can become art installations. Embarking on your daily commute and coming across a mural that has changed the landscape of your own city can bring about new breath. Encounters such as these instill something within us and leave a lasting impression. Some days we can pinpoint it, others we cannot, but regardless something is felt.
Photography by: Rachel Coutant
The restorative and healing power of art often brings to our attention messages that we didn’t know we needed to hear. We begin to ponder, to contemplate, and ultimately are propelled to create. This is just one of the many forces that drives Wall Therapy, a passionately pursued art and community project that uses the platform of public murals as a means of metamorphosis.
Founded in 2011 by Ian Wilson, Wall Therapy murals have exceeded far beyond the 585. Individuals from over two thousand cities and more than a hundred and four countries have made their way to Rochester to personally visit the Wall Therapy sites. Not only are people from all over the world coming to witness the art, but new mural artists from across the globe are asking to come here to paint as well. Pioneering the way, Wall Therapy inadvertently became one of the earliest city-based mural festivals in the United States. Besides that of Open Walls in Baltimore, Living Walls in Atlanta, and a few select others, mural festivals hadn’t yet broken into the scene.
Creator Ian Wilson grew up in East NY, right outside of New York City, during the ‘70s. From a young age he was exposed to graffiti and its gravitational pull. Captured by the color, design, and content, he would make his way down to the train yard to view it. On difficult days, he would find himself yearning to be surrounded by this art form. After a couple moves, Ian ended up settling in Rochester for his medical residency at Strong Memorial Hospital. With the summer of 2010 unfortunately being riddled with youth-on-youth violence, Ian had a strong desire to help. Having experienced the birth of the iconic and influential ‘80s graffiti era, he remembered the healing impact that it left on him and decided to bring mural art to Rochester. This sincere appreciation for The Flower City is what started Wall Therapy, which has manifested into a week long festival with various pocket projects. Continue Reading