Listermann Brewing Co. welcomes graffiti

NORWOOD, Ohio -- What's the difference between graffiti and a mural? It isn't the location, the style of art or the skillset of the artist. It's whether or not that artist has permission to paint. 

Listermann Brewing Company is partnering with Elementz, a local community center, to give a group of teenage artists the chance to express themselves in bold colors and in full view of the surrounding community by painting one of the brewery's exterior walls. 

The style might resemble illegal tags seen on bridges, signs and roadways, but the art is thoughtful and legal, according to the adults who manage the collaboration.

"A couple kids (at Elementz) had a very small area to work on," Listermann manager Jason Brewer said. "We gave them a pretty big canvas and said, ‘Hey, we'll pay for the paint and you guys do whatever you want with it.'"

The graffiti-style designs have to be approved before they go up,  but the space gives young artists such as University of Cincinnati student Jeremy Griffin the opportunity to showcase their edgy, modern work publicly. 

Creating designs for Listermann's wall has helped Griffin develop his process and style, he said.

"I'm trying to get more into illustrating and telling a story and being more purposeful," he said.

And those designs change from season to season -- within a few weeks, teenage artists such as Griffin will have made over the wall to reflect the Christmas season.

Brewer said he views the collaboration as a chance to give young artists a space of their own and lessen the stigma of graffiti-style art.

"(We want to) get their creativeness out in this sort of artwork," he said. "It's kind of frowned upon in general from society and it really is a really neat form of art."

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