Awakening III Enough Pie takes bold step into street arts with event

Artist Shepard Fairey works on one of five murals displayed around Charleston during Spoleto Festival 2014.

Street art is such an inspiring concept to me. Because of all the art forms — be it film, music, canvas, stage — street murals and sculptures are always there in the public realm for people to see, no strings attached.

And when you have such a vast audience like that with no commercial limitations, you can really say anything and have a powerful impact on a community.

Charleston has a few pockets of these projects, particularly in the Avondale business district where you’ll find a slew of vibrant murals, thanks to the chART Outdoor Initiative and Gallery, a group of public artists.

And of course, there were Shepard Fairey’s murals installed around the peninsula last year during a special Halsey Institute exhibition.

But most other big public art projects in the city have been commissioned by businesses to help them decorate their facades. And while those projects certainly add character to places such as Grow Food Carolina and Hominy Grill, the city needs more public murals and art displays that exist on their own purely for the sake of art.

So I have to commend Enough Pie for pushing that effort forward. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to creating a more diverse arts community on the upper peninsula, and many of its projects have centered on bringing art to the public realm.

Last year, the group funded a project to install two mosaic hopscotch boards by local arts educator Meryl Weber at Romney Urban Garden and Charleston Development Academy. Then, it helped bring the community to Revelry Brewing Co. on Conroy St. to help paint a mural on one of the brewery’s long walls.

The organization also has had two Awakening events, which are essentially big projects that local artists submit ideas for and collaborate on over a short period. So far, the projects have centered on bringing to life Enough Pie’s headquarters at 1600 Meeting St.

The next project, Awakening III, however, signals Enough Pie’s boldest step into street art yet.

The organization has partnered with international street artist Sergio Odeith to install one of his signature 3-D murals on a corner of the Dixie Furniture Warehouse at Huger and Hanover streets.

The Lisbon-based muralist will be in town at the beginning of June to install another mural during Piccolo Spoleto on the side of a private home on Hester Street, which faces the basketball courts at Corrine Jones Park. Then, he’ll make his way to the warehouse near Taco Boy restaurant, where he’ll install the mural from June 4-6 that will be inspired by Enough Pie’s Awakening III theme, “solstice.”

“We’re getting inspired by letting the sunshine in,” said Cathryn Zommer, executive director of Enough Pie.

Odeith’s work will be the centerpiece of the project, but many other local artists have the opportunity to make their own mark on the wall.

The organization is calling for artists’ proposals for paintings, sculptures and even performances that can be added to the warehouse walls and the grassy area in front of it.

The proposals selected for the project will be installed over two days leading up to the unveiling of the mural later in the evening on June 20.

Artists must submit proposals no later than Monday, and those selected will be notified by end of day May 15.

Zommer said Enough Pie wants to inspire similar projects to reinvigorate public spaces on the upper peninsula in the future.

“Street art, historically, has been a great equalizer and tells a lot of different narratives. It’s a great way for people to share their stories and to communicate,” Zommer said. “We hope to see that kind of work happening in the upper Peninsula, and ... we see this as the beginning.”

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.

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