Arts & CultureNews & OpinionNooze Hounds

Nooze Hounds: The Talking Walls Crew Discusses Street Art in Charlotte

Episode 49

street art in Charlotte
Just a few of the Talking Walls crew (from left): Arko, Haley Henry, Carla Aaron-Lopez and Will Jenkins. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

In episode 49 of the Nooze Hounds podcast, Ryan talks to four members of the Talking Walls Mural Festival 2021 committee: Carla Aaron-Lopez, chairperson; Arko, artist liaison; Haley Henry, administrator; and Will Jenkins, media manager. The group discusses street art in Charlotte in the lead up to the fourth annual festival; we talk gentrification, the “broken-windows policing” theory that street begets crime, corporate funding and “selling out,” the continued stigmatization of graffiti artists as compared to muralists and plenty more. 


The group also discusses the years-long debate around local arts funding, beginning with Mecklenburg County’s failed arts tax referendum followed by the ongoing formation of an Arts and Culture Advisory Board that will make decisions on allocating grants for artists and arts organizations in Charlotte. On Monday, Oct. 11, Charlotte City Council will vote to fill the four remaining spots in the advisory board. 

Read our latest cover story about Carla Aaron-Lopez, the upcoming Talking Walls mural festival and street art in Charlotte, and for more context, this feature story from 2019 discussing the ways graffiti artists are criminalized in Charlotte while street art flourishes. 

In the cover story, Aaron-Lopez discusses her goal to expand the reach of Talking Walls into communities in Charlotte where street art isn’t as common as it is in hip neighborhoods like NoDa, Plaza Midwood and South End.  

“We know that the community will take care of artists if the community knows that you’re creating something beautiful that is a reflection of them, or something that you can identify with,” Aaron-Lopez says. “I’m here for it, I do think it needs to happen.”

Remember you can catch us on Spotify and other places where you find podcasts, and be sure to check out Queen City Podcast Network for a slew of other great Charlotte podcasts that aren’t quite as good as ours but pretty damn close. Find past Nooze Hounds episodes here. Learn more about Talking Walls and how you can volunteer at the festival website

Feature photo: Trasher participates in the inaugural 2018 Talking Walls Mural Fest. Photo by Brian BT Twitty. 

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