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Denholm Building

The Block Player MuralPAWG tapped internationally acclaimed street artist and Massachusetts native Caleb Neelon for the Denholm Commission, located at 484 Main Street.

Cultural Development Director Erin I. Williams said, "Great cities deserve great art! The City of Worcester encourages and promotes the enrichment of the cultural landscape of the City through aesthetic improvements of public spaces, uniting artists and community and inspiring civic pride. This project is an important first step in that endeavor."

Neelon has public art works throughout the Commonwealth, in major American cities and abroad in twenty-five countries. He has worked on State Department sponsored cultural projects, for schools, hospitals and many cities seeking to enliven their cultural landscapes, including Instanbul, Turkey and Seveille, Spain.

Neelon said he is pleased to have the opportunity to create something so close to home, "I'll be able to have an on-going relationship with the work." The scale of the 4-story Denholm mural, the largest he has ever painted, is also hard for an artist like Neelon to pass up. "Walls [like the Denholm's] have so much character and are exciting to paint," he said.

A community celebration was held on Friday, August 15, 2014 with entertainment and refreshments, followed by walking tour to the mural with artist Caleb Neelon and his assistant, James Mustin.

The City of Worcester and the PAWG sponsored the project, with funding provided by Converse, Inc. and the Worcester Rotary Club with additional support from Consigli Construction, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, City of Worcester, Economy Paint Supply and the Trustees of the Denholm building.

About the Artist

As a thirteen-year-old in February of 1990, Caleb Neelon visited family friends in small-town Germany with his mother and took a side trip to Berlin. For Neelon, the sight of the newly opened Berlin Wall, covered in graffiti and murals was a revelation. By the mid-1990s, Neelon was immersed in the global graffiti scene under the name SONIK. He traveled constantly and developed a vivid, homespun and raw style of mixed media painting. He freely crossed boundaries between graffiti, murals and what would soon be referred to as street art. At the same time, he wrote in-depth articles for graffiti fanzines. As years passed, these publications evolved into art and popular culture magazines, trade books and feature films.

Caleb Neelon's bright, folksy works, frequently incorporating nautical and quilting motifs, can be seen in gallery and museum exhibitions and on walls around the world. In addition to visiting artist talks and programs, Neelon's work ranges from cultural diplomacy projects through the US State Department; curatorial advisory work at museums, projects bringing artwork to hospitals and public artwork projects in over thirty countries around the globe. Neelon regularly writes for national magazines and has authored over a dozen books, among them the landmark 2011 HarperCollins release The History of American Graffiti, which he co-authored with Roger Gastman. He lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife Ellen, daughter ZZ and French bulldog Ferdinand.

A selection of Neelon's recent projects include a pair of murals in Turkey through the US State Department, another at Children's Hospital Boston, several gallery projects and curatorial work on Pump Me Up: DC Subculture in the 1980s, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. A pair of documentary films he produced, including The Legend of Cool "Disco" Dan, the Henry Rollins-narrated story of Washington D.C.'s troubled 1980s years, and Wall Writers, the John Waters-narrated story of the early years of graffiti writing in New York and Philadelphia premiered in 2013. Since 2001, Neelon's projects have been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Life, Berliner Zeitung, Folha de Sao Paulo, PBS Newshour, Washington Post, LA Times, Boston Phoenix, Wall Street Journal, Reason, City Journal, Paper, Artlog, The Economist and Yale University Press' 2013 release the World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti.

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