A reception honoring the work of late graphic artist Sam Mays will take place Friday at Nelson Fine Art Center, 324 E. Main St., at 7 p.m, as well as the dedication of The Sam Mays School of Urban Art, according to a Keep Johnson City Beautiful press release.
Mays, who died suddenly on Feb. 7, and Travis Wasko, former downtown business owner and tattoo artist, initiated the idea of an art school for graffiti offenders during a meeting of Keep Johnson City Beautiful’s Graffiti Hurts committee. They also were instrumental in the formation of the Blue Plum Urban Art Throwdown at the Blue Plum Festival.
According to the release, The Sam Mays School of Urban Art will be “part of the Moral Kombat curriculum which will allow youth graffiti offenders an opportunity to be exposed to positive art by respected mentors.”
“We believe art will inspire Johnson City’s youth and improve our community,” Eva Hunter, director of Keep Johnson City Beautiful said. “While the Urban Art Throwdown is a very successful program, this school will fully realize Sam’s goal of providing contemporary, public and visual art as a positive alternative for youth.”