Must-Do First Friday: The Civil Disobedience Project at Graffiti Alley

By Steve Jansen

(Image courtesy of the ASU Herberger College of the Arts)

I grew up in Tempe and far east Mesa (yeah, yeah, don't hold it against me, especially the latter) so pretty displays of public tagging were basically non-existent to my eyes. And if some lucky spray paint can-wielder or Sharpie master was able to magically jack up a wall or a freeway underpass for art's sake, then voilà!, it would be painted over just like that.

That's why today -- as a relatively newbie to graffiti and writing culture -- I'm so in to events such as the Civil Disobedience Project, which is scheduled to go off this First Friday. Phoenix graf artists and writers partnered with hip-hop artists, the ASU Herberger College of the Arts, the ASU School of Music, Future Arts Research, and other folks to showcase the often-scorned art of graffiti in the drive-through gallery known as Graffiti Alley.

(Image courtesy of the ASU Herberger College of the Arts)

"Graffiti is common in our urban environment, and it speaks to issues that many Phoenicians care about deeply, including gang violence, community solidarity, economic opportunity," says Rick Mook, music professor at ASU. "Like all art forms, it has the capacity to create change. The Civil Disobedience provides the public with an opportunity to support and engage artists who use graffiti to effect positive change."

(Yeah, what he said.)

Along with an alley filled with supercool art, the evening's First Friday festivities will include DJs and breaking battles featuring members of the Furious Styles Crew, Phoenix's phattest collection of b-boys and b-girls.

(Yeah, I know where I'll be posting up for First Friday.)

The Civil Disobedience Project is scheduled to take place from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, November 7, at Graffiti Alley, located at McDowell Road between 18th and 19th streets. Admission is free. See