Here in New Orleans, since early November, a group of artists - many of them black - painted an abandoned apartment complex, set to be redeveloped. Exhibit Be closed today and is apparently the largest street art exhibit in the south. It was beautiful.
I know a couple of the artists who contributed, and sadly I didn't make it out until today when it was really crowded. It was really moving - a lot of the art is really impressive, and I wish I'd gone earlier so I could interact a little more and look more closely.
Over the time it has been up, there have been school tours, poetry readings, community meetings, musical performances, and other celebration of art and urban communities*. It is mostly geared toward the local black community, but also has an overlying theme as a comment on urban blight - something very familiar around here, and particularly on the outskirts of town.
From their website:
ExhibitBE is a community-centered celebration of street art's transformative energy that highlights the opportunity for collective empowerment through creative expression that urban blight presents. ExhibitBE demonstrates artists' ability to repurpose unsightly space to engage their communities in necessary conversations on housing, blight, and accountability. Powered by a brilliant group of volunteer artists and organizers, ExhibitBE is the largest single-site street art exhibit in the American South. Witness what happens when community + space + art unite to redefine blight and to create alchemy.
Today they had Trombone Shorty and Erikah Badu perform (although I didn't see either of these, apparently Erykah only did a DJ set though.
*I am not using codespeak here! I really mean URBAN.
(photos are from the website - mine were way shittier, haha)