Address: 329 S. Main St.
The City of Salisbury is a hub of art and unique displays of creativity, including our popular Graffiti Park. The Graffiti Park is open to any and all who wish to use the space.
As a result of the Graffiti Park, the public has been able to be creative and expressive with no fear of repercussion (as long as their art does not violate the few rules that exist at the park). A representative from the Salisbury Police Department stated that “there was a significant problem with graffiti and tagging before the park was established and since the park has been open there has been a significant difference in vandalism.”
The Graffiti Park has become a destination park for artists from all over. Our park is one of few public and legal graffiti parks in the country. In addition, this space has been used for filming and other creative projects. This park has not only given artists, families, groups, and individuals with a voice a place to freely express, it has also helped in reducing illegal tagging that was occurring rampantly throughout our city.
Graffiti Park History
In 2014, Downtown Salisbury Inc. (DSI), a local nonprofit Downtown organization that is now a city department, held an event called “Salisbury Streets Alive” on the Fourth of July. As a partner, the Salisbury Parks and Recreation traditionally provided a fun, interactive component to the DSI events. For this particular event we were asked to think outside the box and bring something better than ever. We had been toying with the idea of building a large graffiti wall so we did just that. We created a short list of graffiti rules and put our construction skills to work and our 16ft x 8ft wall and a box of paint cans was placed in the middle of a downtown street for folks to express away.
Now that we had a sixteen foot wall, the question was where to place it after the Salisbury Streets Alive event. The city owned a .42 acre piece of vacant property on a downtown street corner that we felt would be a highly visible location to showcase art and bring color and life to the lot and the entrance to our downtown. Through an approval process with city officials and the Historic Preservation Committee, we got the ok to place the wall in that location temporarily.
The wall was well received with many kudos from the public for offering a place where folks could be expressive without violating any laws. We eventually added two smaller walls to the park and eager artists were continually thinking of ways to expand the park on their own, even so much as to construct their own small wall on the property or make a wall from posts and saran wrap. This spurred the idea of turning this vacant lot into a semi-permanent art and graffiti park.
The former Parks and Recreation Maintenance Manager, now the city Landscape Architect and Project Manager, designed a plan for a full fledge park complete with art walls, expression rocks, walking paths, trees, and green space. This plan was taken before the Historic Preservation Committee and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for discussion and approval. Both gave a yes and fundraising efforts began. We approached several potential sponsors over a 2 year period but those efforts were unsuccessful. City officials eventually gave to go ahead to complete the project with city funds and in March of 2018 the park was finally finished. The completed park holds 12 art walls and 3 expression rocks which has become an ever changing corner of color, expression, and all out fun.