Wall to Wall: Graffiti Wall returns to Wall Avenue

In a move that may or may not confuse the experts – though I’ll readily admit I’m stumped and surprised – the Graffiti Wall has returned. When the Great Wall of Graffiti met its demise months ago in the name of progress, I noted that it seemed inevitable, probably good for development on the square and more than a little sad. Many of us spent hours staring at the diatribes against TVA, the tagging and the actual art by local artists such as Cynthia Markert and Brian Pittman. Bricks arrived on the scene, the plywood was removed and after a few days an eight-foot chain-link fence appeared to keep us in the street when walking by. This was the beginning of September and the end of the story, right?

Newly Re-furbished Graffiti Wall, Wall Avenue, Knoxville, February 2011

Well, not so fast, my friend. The bricks never got used. I intended this blog to be about that fact, pointing out the odd lack of progress on this prominent and important corner at 36 Market Square. Up until the point of my post, the effort seemed to be moving, if slowly, toward an excellent conclusion. Then nothing.  Over five months have passed and what do we have to show for the wait? A reversal.

I was startled to see that the fence has been moved to only cover the facade of the building on the Square side and that fresh plywood has been helpfully provided to re-cover the old businesses on the side of the building. A refurbished graffiti wall? Who saw that coming? And why? And how should local artists and anarchists respond?

Is the owner of the building after more art to add to his collection? I overhead a person claiming to own the building say that he had taken the better pieces for his own and, I suppose it’s his building and his plywood, but somehow those seemed like publically owned pieces. This is where we need someone like Josh Flory at Property Scope to find out the real scoop. Where I know homeless folks and local musicians by name, he knows builders and developers. Josh, what up?