Over the last two years, Living Walls has played host to almost 50 street artists who have adorned buildings and other vertical surfaces in Atlanta with murals, graffiti and projections in a variety of styles and dimensions. In contrast to the past events, however, the Living Walls 2012 Street Art Conference, which runs August 15 through 19, has a theme: all of its muralists are women.
In fact, this year’s event is billed as “the world’s first all-female street art conference.” Twenty-six artists (or art partnerships) are taking part, including Canadian Indigo, an Italian couple known as Sten & Lex and Atlanta’s own Paper Twins.
Gender parity in the art world at large remains more of a goal than an achievement, and street art is a particularly macho endeavor. The fact that only two previous Living Walls participants were female and that the same inequality was evident in the huge street-art event at Art Basel Miami last December stirred the organizers to action.
This year’s Living Walls conference will be a networking opportunity for its artist participants as well as a showcase for public art and a platform for lectures and panel discussions on the meaning of (and, in some corners, lingering controversy over) the work that the conference generates. It should be no surprise that one of the keynote speakers will talk about “gender and identity dynamics within the street-art movement.”
Vandalog Movie Night. Sponsored by Vandalog, one of the street art blogs that is an unofficial partner of Living Walls, this evening will feature Vandalog’s RJ Rushmore as host and lecturer. Rushmore will screen short videos about graffiti and the like. 9 p.m. August 15. At the Wren’s Nest.
Art House Opening. Works by Nikita Gale, Plastic Aztecs, Knitterati, Patricia Lacrete and Mon Ellis, all on view in an abandoned Reynoldstown house. 5-8 p.m. August 16-19. At 170 Chester Street S.E.
Map Release and Block Party. Projections by Martha Cooper and Teen Witch, a traveling drag show, live music and dancing in celebration of the visual guide to this year’s installations. Supporting establishments are Sound Table, Noni’s, Church, the Music Room, Corner Tavern and Vesuvius. 8 p.m. August 16. Edgewood Avenue at Boulevard.
Lectures. August 17 at the Museum of Design Atlanta. 5 p.m.: Panel discussion, moderated by street artist Gaia, among Ian Wilson, Lenny Correa, Erin Yoshi and Indigo. 6 p.m.: Talk by Naomi Hersson-Ringskog, who addresses public art as an agent for positive community change. 7 p.m.: Erin Yoshi, executive director of the Estria Foundation, speaks on the role of gender and identity dynamics in the street art movement. 8 p.m.: Panel discussion that carries on with Yoshi’s themes, among Karen Shacham, RJ Rushmore, Amanda Mills and Paul Boshears, moderated by Georgia Tech postdoctoral fellow Doris Bremm.
“Toast the Artist.” Party in honor of this year’s participating artists. With a collaboration between Pablo Gnecco and the gloATL dance troupe. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. August 17. At the W Hotel Midtown.
Lectures. August 18 at the Plaza Theatre. Noon: Panel discussion among Lisa Tuttle, Karen Tauches, Lauri Stallings and Courtney Hammond on the role of public art in Atlanta, with Gaia as moderator. 1 p.m.: Talk by Georgia Tech professor Ellen Dunham-Jones, co-author of “Retrofitting Suburbia.” 2 p.m.: Talk by Mike Lydon, principal of the Street Plan Collaborative. 3 p.m.: Panel discussion among Mike Lydon, Gene Kansas, Gyun Hur, Ellen Dunham-Jones and Kate Creason on making cities more livable.
Main Event/Gallery Exhibit. A West End warehouse space becomes an art gallery. 8 p.m August 18. At the Venue Gallery.
Bicycle Tour. Cyclists get guided to various Living Walls murals and other works. Tour departs from Lottafrutta. 3 p.m. August 19.