Home Arts & Culture University Libraries empowers creativity at graffiti workshop highlighting hip-hop culture | Virginia Tech News

University Libraries empowers creativity at graffiti workshop highlighting hip-hop culture | Virginia Tech News

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Virginia Tech Digging in the Crates in University Libraries celebrated the 50th anniversary of hip-hop by hosting an aerosol art workshop. 

Students and other members of the community helped experienced graffiti artist Good Homie Signs produce two 16-foot-long murals that honored the history of hip hop and introduced newcomers to the art form. 

“This is all about creating access to this type of art. Graffiti and aerosol art are largely something that’s done in the shadows. Bringing it out here and giving it the spotlight it deserves in a more friendly and welcoming space is really important,” said University Libraries Community Engagement Coordinator Craig Arthur, who leads the organization.

A New Student and Family Programs Weeks of Welcome grant, which supports events during the first three weeks of the fall and spring semesters, funded the workshop.

Breaking stereotypes

Hip-hop culture long has been subject to misconceptions and stereotypes that often overshadow its positive influences. Digging in the Crates is working to change the public perception as well as elevate the study of hip-hop culture.

“I like to go against the negative connotation automatically given to graffiti. Some people just see it as people tagging stuff or committing property damage or something like that. But it is far more than that,” said Ethan Quiah, a junior studying business information technology. “It’s a medium to express how you truly feel. It goes far deeper than just someone trying to deface something or commit property damage. It gives you an ability to address the greater issues at hand.”

Through the graffiti workshop, Digging in the Crates was able to shed a positive light on aerosol art, demonstrating how it is an important form of self-expression that can be beneficial to society.

“I think it’s really important for Virginia Tech to provide a space to do this because it allows people to expand creatively and explore new activities, ideas, and mindsets that one wouldn’t have previously seen if they hadn’t gotten this opportunity here,” said Mikaela Saint Hilaire, a junior studying graphic design. 

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