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April 15, 2021

Graff Park Paint Jam brings a crowd to raise money for graffiti park

SALISBURY — With a few dozen people watching in downtown Salisbury, artists from across the region helped raise money for the city’s graffiti park while also competing for a $500 commission.

Organized by Shane Pierce — who’s better known by his artist name, Abstract Dissent — the Graff Park Paint Jam raised $565 to make improvements to the graffiti park. Local artist David “Cave” Arbaiza also won the popular vote among attendees, receiving the chance to create a $500 piece of art at the Fish Bowl in downtown Salisbury.

Pierce organized the fundraiser, in part because of his growing popularity in the Salisbury area. He’s painted graffiti murals at places across Rowan County, including the Pedal Factory, North Rowan Elementary School, Grievous Gallery, the Fish Bowl, Nazareth Child & Family Connection’s outpatient facility and more.

“The way that Salisbury has reacted to my art has just blown my mind,” Pierce said. “To me, this form of art is the fastest-growing form of art, the street art scene. My art took off up here, and I just thought that Salisbury should have a street art event.”

Josh Bergeron / Salisbury Post – A collection of paint cans is strewn behind Makayla Bitner on Saturday as she paints during the Graff Park Paint Jam at Salisbury’s downtown graffiti park. Bitner was one of several artists who painted during the event.

So, after some prodding from DJ Mon-Te, who provided music for Saturday’s fundraiser, Pierce contacted Salisbury Parks and Recreation’s Vivian Koontz, the department’s event coordinator, to work through logistics.

On Saturday, there was music, T-shirt sales, food and electricity thanks to a generator on a Salisbury Fire Department truck.

A few dozen people were at the graffiti park at any one time, with folks filing in and out. Organizers said they were pleased with the turnout. And Pierce said the turnout Saturday is proof that Salisbury is interested in and excited about graffiti art.

With help from the money raised, Pierce said he would like to see a small concrete wall that’s at the back of the park raised by about 6 feet, which would create a large, flat surface on which artists could paint. At present, artists have several large wooden boards positioned throughout the park.

“If you go to any other city where there’s a park like this, you’ll have a concrete or brick wall,” Pierce said.

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