Kids and adults will have a unique chance to use bright spray paint to leave their own artful marks on the wall of the Hyannis Public Library during the festive Hyannis First Friday on Aug. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m.
The Community Art Wall is made possible by a special partnership between two Hyannis Main Street organizations: the Hyannis Public Library and The Cordial Eye.
“We welcome everyone to have fun and express themselves creatively without fear of being chased away!” said Mary George, co-Executive Director of The Cordial Eye.
“This is a safe and welcoming place,” Library Director Antonia Stephens added. “We want everyone to feel they belong at our Library. Along with providing free resources to books and other communications, we’re here to build strong connections with our community, embrace diversity, and inspire creativity. This project accomplishes all that.”
Some call this painted form of expression graffiti…others call it art.
“The library just screened movies about Basquiat, a very famous artist who began creating graffiti when he was very young and whose art became widely respected,” said Stephens. “In fact, the Boston MFA recently had a major exhibition of his work. Maybe this wall will inspire another great artist.”
“Street art is very popular in cities now,“ said Anastaci Pacella, co-Executive Director of The Cordial Eye. “This Community Art Wall is our legal street art space where everyone can feel free to paint or draw. On this First Friday, we will also have a new piece of artwork by a professional artist as well as music by a local band.”
The Community Art Wall project was initiated by Will Caolo, a local high school student who had painted all the available space in his supportive parents’ home and then turned to The Cordial Eye to help him find a public space for his artwork.
The Cordial Eye took on this project because it was important to their mission to use the arts to expand the concept of what it means to be a creative person on Cape Cod and to provide historically marginalized groups a voice. They began a long process to gain support from the community and funding through MassDevelopment.
When Stephens realized their need for a wall she offered the long side of the Twombly section of the Library for the installation of four panels that could be painted.
“We want our community to create content for the Library. This project is so much fun. It does no harm to the building,” she said. “The artmakers follow our code of conduct responsibly and we’ve had no issues. Most of our long-time Library patrons are delighted to see the kids and families painting colorful images here.”
The Community Art Wall was inaugurated during Hyannis Open Streets in May 2023, when renowned artist Joey Mars welcomed eager children and adults to add their unique marks. Mars has been painting his distinctive bizarre characters since the 1990s.
“It was pure joy,” said Mary George. “Convincing institutions to accept new ideas requires a lot of effort. But when we see the positive impact it has, it fills the tank.”
Stephens continued, “When the internet went out in the area, a teenage student came in to use our internet to study. He discovered the wall and he’s been back many, many times to paint. For us, building new relationships for the Library is also pure joy!”