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Paint Louis wraps up its 25th graffiti festival at the flood wall

The festival was held downtown St. Louis and brought in more than 500 artists over Labor Day weekend.

ST. LOUIS — Hundreds of artists wrapped up the 25th Paint Louis graffiti festival Sunday evening.

The festival is a yearly effort to beautify the two mile flood wall in downtown St. Louis where graffiti tags and murals are celebrated.

“Graffiti as an art movement is one of the longest art movements in art history now. It's been going since the late 60's, early 70's,” Paint Louis Organizer, Bryan Walsh, said. 

The festival featured artists from all over the country and even the world who came to St. Louis for the event.

 St. Louis artist Brklyn said the impact reaches beyond this wall.

“This is a big thing for the community to see....because every time they see graffiti as vandalism, we see it as art, depending on where it's at and what it is," Brklyn said. "We’re making things that have been decayed, or decaying, more beautiful through color, expression of letters, and just feeling."

Owner of Eclectic Retail Gallery Eric Wilson said this group of St. Louis artists dedicated their space to inspirational people.

“We wanted to pay homage to people that we feel like made an impression on our world and our neighborhood," Wilson said. "And just people we felt like, needed to be seen."

According to a press release, Paint Louis hosted the international recording star and hip hop pioneer KRS-ONE for an all ages, outdoor, open to the public free concert. 

John Harrington, one of the original founders of Paint Louis who is a current committee member, said the festival planners wanted to bring KRS-ONE to Paint Louis.

"His message of community activism and his influence on the culture has been incredible," Harrington said. 

Brklyn honored the late Orlando Watson a beloved St. Louis figure who died earlier this year.

“He played a big part in the St. Louis landscape, the entertainment scene, activism...just being able to provide jobs for people, opportunities for people," Brklyn said. "So I thought it'd be nice to represent the cat like that."

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The organizers hope to continue to build up the space and make visitors' lives a little brighter.

“I think it has a huge impact and over all the years, we've been trying to build the overall awareness of Paint Louis as an event and the flood wall as a place of course,” Walsh said.

The murals can be seen through next year starting at 1000 S. Wharf Street.

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