Photo by Steven King
We sat down with Lisa Drexhage, the co-director of POW! WOW! Worcester, to learn more about this international mural festival, which will be taking place in Worcester August 13-22nd. To learn more about this exciting mural festival in Main South, visit www.powwowworcester.com
Worcester is proud to welcome another year of POW! WOW! that is a celebration of culture and art. Originating in Hawaii in 2010, POW! WOW! held its inaugural mural festival in Downtown Worcester in 2016. The event drew more than 10,000 people in the week leading up to Labor Day.
POW! WOW! is a community effort, involving sponsors and local restaurants that feed the artists. We bring public art to the community, but what I really feel like we are doing is showcasing the amazing community Worcester has.
– Lisa Drexhage
Artists participating in POW! WOW! Worcester are both local and traveling artists who come to the city to paint and be a part of the POW! WOW! Worldwide network of festivals. Artists try to incorporate inspiration from the neighborhood into their murals and are given creative freedom.
POW! WOW! Worcester maintains the largest collection of street murals in New England. Since its inception, POW! WOW! Worcester has curated over 160 pieces of public art, including 106 murals. It is truly a collaboration of the city, including a local organizing committee made up of city residents, students, and business professionals.
The mission of POW! WOW! is plentiful: to beautify neighborhoods and create community. POW! WOW! aims to encourage walkability and enhanced connectivity between different neighborhoods in the city while advocating for youth arts education. POW! WOW! wants to inspire change, promote diversity and inclusion, and contribute to a greater quality of life.
We spoke with Lisa Drexhage, the co-director of POW! WOW! Worcester, to learn more about this international mural festival, which will be taking place in Worcester August 13-22nd this year.
“What does POW! WOW! mean?”
Lisa: POW! WOW! is named after the experience of the creation of art. POW! is the impact that the art has on an individual and WOW! is the emotion that it creates. Together, these two concepts are the core of the mission: to beautify neighborhoods and create community.
“How do artists get selected to participate in POW! WOW!?”
Lisa: We try to find artists that are representative of the area. The style behind the artist is important too, like if they like to paint brick walls, flat walls, etc.
“How much direction do you give artists on their murals?”
Lisa: We give the artists creative freedom. We give them some background on the area so they can try to incorporate their style with the surrounding neighborhood.
“What makes a good mural?”
Lisa: Art is subjective. The root of what a mural should do is it should change people’s perspectives and make them think.
“Anything else you want to share about POW! WOW!?”
Lisa: POW! WOW! is a community effort, involving sponsors and local restaurants that feed the artists. We bring public art to the community, but what I really feel like we are doing is showcasing the amazing community Worcester has.