Commentary, Edagardo Cervano-Soto
19 year old David Castañeda is a graffiti artist and a member of LA TRIBE, an artist collective in Richmond, California. Yet like many Richmond street artists, his art has received the cold shoulder from city officials and citizens who label graffiti arts as vandalism. But these are artists who have much to offer.
The Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency and the Richmond Main Street Initiative have incorporated public art into its redevelopment strategy for downtown. However, instead of reaching out to local youth street artists like David, they have been overlooked.
In her 2012 State of the City Address, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said the city was exploring a Youth and Children’s Office that prioritizes youth needs including safety and the arts. The inclusion of an artist workers project into Richmond Youth Works would benefit the city of Richmond, and can contribute to Richmond’s decrease in violence. According to statistics made available by the Richmond Police Department , violence crime in Richmond decreased 14% between 2010 and 2011, but the number of homicides in 2010 rose from 21 to 26 in 2011. Research from Prevention Institute emphasizes on the significance of the arts, youth leadership and economic development to preventing violence, especially among low-income communities of color.
Ignoring Richmond street artists is a mistake. City officials, including Mayor Gayle McLaughlin have publicly called for Richmond’s return to a cultural and artistic renaissance, one that would match the cultural production of World War 2. But the arts never left Richmond. Vernacular forms of art such as graffiti have always been present but are least likely to be recognized by established art institutions. Instead, graffiti is at the center of debate, labeled as vandalism, blight and a connection to gang signage. If the renaissance that we are waiting for has not arrived, its because we are looking in the wrong direction. Youth artists are flourishing in the dark, beneath train track bridges and spaces long ignored. The renaissance, is already here.
is a community news and media outlet, committed to amplifying the voices of the city's under-served residents. Our reporting is led by young people, with the intent of serving the entire community. Through our work, we seek to create dialogue, and find solutions to, the health issues that plague the Richmond, California community.
Want to tell a story? Get Involved Today!
Read More About…
Download the Richmond Pulse Newspaper (English and Spanish PDF)
Most Recent Editions Below -- Click Here for All Past Editions
- Issue #19: September 2013
- Issue #18: August 2013
- Issue #17: July2013
- Issue #16: June 2013
- Issue #15: May 2013
- Issue #14: April 2013
- Issue #13: March 2013
- Issue #12: February 2013
- Issue #11: January 2013
- Issue #10: December 2012
- Issue #9: November 2012
- Issue #8: October 2012
- Community Groups Filling Void in LGBTQ Services in Richmond, San Pablo 0 comments
- Punishment Fits the Crime for Teen Who Videotaped Murder 0 comments
- Breaking Silence on Trauma is First Step to Healing 0 comments
- About 0 comments
- Read 0 comments
Related Richmond, Ca News
- Richmond: Teacher charged with abusing students planned unauthorized field trip (Richmond)
- Berkeley police locate missing at-risk Richmond woman (Richmond)
- Contra Costa Supervisors Gioia, Mitchoff will face no opponents for re-election on June 3 (Richmond)
- Council moves to hire independent investigator to audit Housing Authority (Richmond Confidential)
- OPINION: Richmond’s investment in youth development is path to ending gun violence (Richmond Confidential)
- Dalai Lama blesses Richmond’s Tibetan Center (Richmond Confidential)