Appreciate graffiti at the Meeting of Styles in Wiesbaden

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

All too often, graffiti can be seen as an act of vandalism and an urban eyesore, but the Meeting of Styles shows it can be so much more than that. 

To see this provocative form of artistic expression in a whole new light, make way to the suburbs of Wiesbaden, host to a gathering of street artists from around the globe. The event known as Meeting of Styles debuted in Wiesbaden in 2002 and has since staged over 300 events worldwide.

Meeting of Styles brings its gritty blend of color and urban party scene to its usual location, the Mainz-Kastel Brueckenkopf, June 14-17. On these days, over 130 street artists will transform over 4,000 square meters into an open-air art gallery. The space they’ll cover with their signature designs corresponds to over half the area of a standard-sized soccer field. A side program of events includes sports, music, dance and the opportunity to meet the artists themselves.

Artists use concrete as their canvas at the underpass of the Theodor-Heuss Bridge, which crosses the Rhine close to the Reduit and Mainz-Kastel S-Bahn stations. From Wiesbaden’s main train station, the area can be reached by the S-Bahn commuter train or city bus number 6. The theme of this year’s gathering is “Between the Lines.”

A special guest in attendance this year is Darryl McCray, better known as Cornbread. In the late 1960s, he and his friends started to “tag” spaces in Philadelphia, an act widely regarded as the birth of the modern graffiti movement. Cornbread appears at a meet-and-greet scheduled for 5 p.m. today, and at 7 p.m., he’ll be giving a talk. Both events take place at the Kontext-Zentrum urban arts center on Welfenstrasse 1b, about 300 meters from the Schlachthof and just east of the tracks leading to Wiesbaden’s main train station.

Events taking place at the Brueckenkopf include live Dub, Roots and Drum-N-Bass concerts from 3 p.m. June 15 and a party spiced up with rap, DJs, breakdance and more from 11 a.m. June 16. From 11 a.m. June 17, the artists will be on hand to show off their completed works of art. At the “graffiti battle” scheduled for 4 p.m. June 17, eight artists get three minutes each to complete a work of art prompted by a single word.

Food available on-site includes bratwurst and steak from the grill, along with freshly made specialties from Eritrea.

Events are free to attend, with the exception of two parties taking place at Kontext. A rap contest starts at 10 p.m. June 15 (admission 5 euros) and the “Meeting of Sounds” party gets underway from 10:30 p.m. June 16 (admission 15 euros).

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