Graffiti HeArt’s president and founder discusses the grand opening weekend, May 30 to June 1, for the organization’s new gallery at 4829 Superior Ave. in Cleveland.

Graffiti HeArt’s grand opening weekend is packed with programming over three days. What are some of the highlights?

Premier, world-renowned artist RISK (Kelly Graval) is painting the exterior of the new Graffiti HeArt graffiti gallery all week. RISK will be painting throughout the week and will be part of the events starting with the movie screening of “Saving Banksy,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Capitol Theatre, which will be followed by Q&A with RISK and Brian Greif, the film’s executive producer. That will be followed by Friday’s VIP Reception at the new Graffiti HeArt graffiti gallery at 4829 Superior Ave., and on Saturday, June 1, events will end with the Community Open House & Ribbon Cutting event, which is open to the public. The ribbon cutting is at 1 p.m. and there will be food truck, DJ and live graffiti art in play!

What might someone who’s never encountered graffiti art in a gallery setting expect from attending an opening weekend event? In what ways might the experience be similar or different from a show at any other gallery?

This gallery will be the home of Graffiti HeArt. It will include aerosol and other street art elements in the gallery, and it will feature various artists’ work throughout, including on-wall installations. The space will bring elements of the street art and graffiti indoors. We will use the space for artist gallery shows, events, educational workshops and programming.

Images courtesy of Graffiti HeArt.

Graffiti HeArt was founded in 2013. With what other projects around Northeast Ohio might people be familiar?

Greetings From Cleveland” (in Ohio City) by Vic Ving; “Welcome to Tremont” on the Tremont Food Mart by Vic Savage and Alan Giberson; “More Heart Than Art” in the Gordon Square Arts District by Ish Muhammad and Eileen Dorsey; and the “Color Block” mural at Tyler Village, and more.

What led to the decision to open a gallery in 2019, six years after getting started?

Momentum, progress, and planning. I bought the building myself, took out savings and took out a mortgage in order to make this happen – something I’ve envisioned since the beginning but needed the right timing, the right building and the stars needed to align. It’s fulfilling to take the jump and watch it all come together. 

In what ways will Graffiti HeArt’s new gallery help it carry out its mission?

The gallery and home base will allow us also to have a home for our participating artists and aspiring artists to have a place they can play, experiment and create. We can also bring the community together to showcase inspiring work of artists that truly changes the environment and instills positive energy in the community. We plan on bridging more communities through public art in the future. CV