image © GSZ via Flickr Creative Commons
“They come from Italy, Germany, Russia, Spain – all over,” said Meres One to The Guardian. “In the summer, you have DJs and break dancers and freelance MCs. It’s not just graffiti.” During the summers, up to 110 artists create and showcase their work at 5 Pointz.
Meres One become curator back in 2002, taking over for Pat DiLillo, the founder of the original project in 1993, which he dubbed The Phun Phactory. Not only was 5 Pointz created as a venue for graffiti writers to express themselves without fear of law enforcement, but also as a way to discourage graffiti throughout the city by “allowing artists to showcase their work in a more formal showcase.”
One reiterated concerns that the end of 5 Points will create a wave of vandalism. “What I’m doing is offering an outlet, and while they are here they are not doing it elsewhere,” he said to The Guardian.
For those of us who’ve lived in NYC during the ’80s and ’90s, the prospect of widespread city vandalism isn’t a far-fetched reality. Today most subways and buildings are devoid of any graffiti because of strict anti-vandalism laws, but that may not be enough to stop a new generation of artists looking for a creative outlet.
Despite what many consider to be the end of 5 Pointz, there may be hope yet to keep this important landmark alive. During the 72 Hour Urban Action initiative, we also spoke to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who represents the LIC district. “People should be able to live in a city with sustainable, local economies that help maintain the cultural layers of the community’s local identity,” he said. Activists should pressure local politicans to petition for 5 Pointz to be designated a historic landmark.