This year’s POW! WOW! Long Beach event has brought 21 new murals to brighten neighborhoods across the city from Ocean Boulevard to South Street.
The 2018 POW! WOW! Long Beach event kicked off June 25. Artists painted 21 new murals throughout the city, completed last week. Pictured from left is Long Beach Transit President and CEO Kenneth McDonald, Long Beach Museum of Art Executive Director Ron Nelson, interTrend Communications CEO Julia Huang, Port of Long Beach Director of Communications and Community Relations Kerry Gerot, Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Steve Goodling, and POW! WOW! Worldwide Co-lead Director Kamea Hadar. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Pat Flynn)
POW! WOW! is a series of worldwide street art events which bring murals to public spaces. The project began in Hawaii in 2010 by artists Jasper Wong and Kamea Hadar. “They wanted to get a group of people together that they love and respect to start beautifying a part of Honolulu that was a little run-down and industrial,” Tokotah Ashcraft, the regional director for POW! WOW! Long Beach, explained. “Now they have the place looking so beautiful with hundreds of murals and great little shops. It’s really transformed the neighborhood.”
Four years ago, Long Beach Museum of Art Executive Director Ron Nelson and interTrend Communications CEO Julia Huang brought the concept to Long Beach. While the painters work on a volunteer basis, the Port of Long Beach, the city and the Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) fund their supplies. Local restaurants provided the artists with free lunches during the week that they were painting. Long Beach Transit has also wrapped a bus in a mural to promote the event in the city. The city now boasts about 70 POW! WOW! murals.
A Long Beach Transit bus boasts a POW! WOW! mural. POW! WOW! Long Beach Regional Director Tokotah Ashcraft said the city has fully embraced the event. “It’s really a beautiful thing,” she said. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Pat Flynn)
“Long Beach has fully embraced POW! WOW!,” Ashcraft said. “It’s really a beautiful thing. At any given time of day, there are locals who aren’t even volunteering [who visit the artists]. They’re just art lovers who are giving [the painters] water, snacks and gifts.”
This year, 24 new artists joined the team, made up of painters from both Long Beach and around the world. Typically, a new group of artists contributes each year, although some have participated multiple years, Ashcraft said. According to Steve Goodling, president and CEO of the CVB, many of the artists have commercial contracts with companies such as Adidas, Perrier and Tiffany & Co. “It’s really neat to see that this great role of street art is now being embraced mainstream in consumer products,” he said.
Artist Sydney James completes a mural located at 2301 E. 7th St. at Raymond Avenue. The city now boasts approximately 70 POW! WOW! murals created during the project’s four years. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Pat Flynn)
The kickoff event for POW! WOW! took place June 25, the same day Fire Capt. David Rosa was killed in the line of duty. Although Goodling said this cast a pall over the event, he expressed hope that the artists would help the city heal. “I think their art this week is going to help us as we work through things as a community,” he commented. “They’ll leave behind some wonderful artwork for us to enjoy even beyond this week.”
Following is a list of the artists and the location of their mural:
• Andrew Hem: 1129 Gaviota Ave.
• CASE: 404 Pine Ave.
• Fintan Macgee & Evoca1: 300 Ocean Blvd.
• Jason Keam: 4321 Atlantic Ave.
• Joon the Goon: 625 Anaheim St.
• Juan Travieso: 1253 E. 4th St.
• Kamea Hadar: 60 E. 4th St.
• Kaplan Bunce: 333 E. Ocean Blvd.
• KozDos: 1731 E. 4th St.
• Leon Keer: 107 Broadway
• Lolo YS: 145 E. 4th St.
• Ms. Yellow: 2841 E. Broadway
• NeverMade: 256 E. 3rd St.
• Noelle Martinez: 5248 Long Beach Blvd.
• Shane Sun: 416 Cherry Ave.
• Shantell Martin: 1923 7th St.
• Sydney James: 2301 E. 7th St.
• Tatiana Velazquez: 1731 E. 4th St.
For more information, visit: www.powwowlongbeach.com.