The controversial power of graffiti: Exhibition featuring 21 street artists to open at Muskegon Community College on March 18

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“If graffiti changed anything — it would be illegal.”

Banksy, an internationally known street artist who for years has flouted the law across the globe to paint and stencil often controversial images that are powerful critiques of politics, social issues and art, emblazoned the above sentence on a garage in London.

The sentiment behind this one line—one of challenging authority, of upheaval and social movements, of empowering marginalized artists and disenfranchised communities—has long inspired street artists, from the universally known Banksy, Keith Haring and Shepard Fairey to anonymous painters, their works perhaps known only in their neighborhoods, bringing messages of frustration, change and hope to blank walls.

It’s these messages challenging us all to see the world a little differently that inspired a traveling art exhibition set to open at Muskegon Community College on March 18. “Tag…You’re It: Outside Art Moves In” will be shown through April 19 at MCC’s Overbrook Gallery and will feature 21 panels painted by street artists from the Detroit/Dearborn area.

On Thursday, April 11, a public reception will take place from 3:30pm to 5pm in the Overbrook Gallery. At 4pm in Stevenson Center Room 1100, Steven Glazer, an instructor of art at Henry Ford College and the catalyst behind the show, will discuss the process of putting the exhibition together.

In an interview with Henry Ford College’s student publication, The Mirror News, Glazer emphasized the transformative role street art can play in our world.

“To be so passionate about art that you do it whether it’s legal or not, I’ve always been attracted to that type of attitude,” Glazer said.

The reception and discussion with Glazer are free and open to the public. Overbrook Art Gallery also is free and open to the public on Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the exhibit or programming, call MCC at (231) 777-0324.

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